Prior To My Involvement
Courtney Love and her husband, Kurt Cobain, had not been getting along. They'd been
talking about divorce. Kurt did not want to tour or perform anymore. He was
walking away from what Courtney said was a $9.5 million dollar contract to headline
the Lollapalooza tour.
Courtney was angry at Kurt for the possible loss of all those millions. Her anger
wasn't working, so she tried to blame Kurt's attitude on his drug use and put
together a so-called "tough love intervention." Among others at the "intervention"
were some of the junkies Kurt did drugs with!
Courtney claimed she told Kurt, "This has got to end. You have to be a good daddy!"
This statement is somewhat pretentious since it came from a woman who was doing
drugs when I was first hired and continued her drug use during the eight months I
worked for her. It's hard to believe Kurt could have taken this whole "intervention"
March 26, 1994.
Courtney left Seattle for the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Kurt and his best friend Dylan Carlson purchased a shotgun. Kurt told Dylan he was
afraid of intruders at the house. Walking out on the Lollapalooza tour was a business
decision that would cost others a great deal of money also. I have reason to believe
Kurt may have been intimidated into believing his life would be in danger if he failed
to do the tour.
The shotgun was a 20 gauge, set-up for light load. This set-up is what gun dealers often
recommend for home protection because the shot won't penetrate walls and endanger those
on the other side. Kurt took the shotgun to his house so it would be there when he got
back from rehab. He then left Seattle to go to a rehab center in Marina Del Rey,
California, (near Los Angeles).
Thirteen phone calls were made to Kurt's rehab center from Courtney's hotel room at the
Peninsula. Most of these are to the patient's pay phone. Courtney later told me she only
talked to Kurt once that day.
That evening, Kurt left the rehab. Later, at 8:47 PM, he called the Peninsula Hotel and
left a message for Courtney. The message on the hotel log reads: "Elizabeth's
phone # is (213)_______." (This # is in my case file.) Courtney never mentioned
this message to the media. It doesn't appear to be a message from a person who
Kurt arrived in Seattle early Saturday morning, April 2nd, and was taken to his house
on Lake Washington by a hired driver.
Saturday night Courtney had a friend plant a phony story with the Associated Press that
she had overdosed on drugs and was in the hospital. This planted story became significant
later in the investigation.
Easter Sunday at the Peninsula
Sunday, April 3rd.
Courtney called my office in Beverly Hills. She told me someone was using her
husband's credit card and she wanted me to try to find out who it was.
I took another investigator with me named Ben Klugman. We met Courtney at the Peninsula
Hotel in Beverly Hills. "If you leak this to the press, I'll sue the f___ out of you,"
Courtney warned me as we walked into the room.
Courtney told us her husband was Kurt Cobain and that he just left a drug rehab. She said
she lied to the credit card company and had his card canceled. She wanted us to call
the credit card company and find out what the attempted activities were on this
canceled card. I mentioned I couldn't understand why she needed us for that.
I advised her she could do that herself and save some money. If we did it, I'd have
to charge her fifty dollars just to make a phone call.
"What? That's not enough money for you?" Courtney responded sarcastically.
Courtney told us Kurt only had one credit card and without that one card he had no
access to money. She said Kurt didn't have any friends or anyone else that might
loan him money. Knowing now who we were dealing with, this didn't make sense!
We questioned Courtney more about Kurt's ability to get money for his needs. "This
guy can't even catch a f___ing cab by himself!" she insisted.
Courtney told us about a story she had planted with the Associated Press the previous
evening. The story alleged that Courtney had overdosed and was in the hospital. She
claimed the reason she did this was to scare Kurt and get his attention so he'd try
to contact her.
Later that afternoon while I was with her in the hotel room, Courtney rambled on in an
angry rage about the "9 1/2 million dollars" Kurt was walking away from.
She said, "If he doesn't want the money, he ought to do it for his child, for Frances."
She said she'd do the Lollapalooza tour for Kurt if he didn't want to do it...
She said she'd do Saturday Night Live if he didn't want to do it...
She said she thought Kurt wanted a divorce...
She mentioned a prenuptial agreement, but said, "My name's on all the houses and assets."
Courtney said she didn't know for sure where Kurt was. She said he might be in Seattle,
or he may have flown back east to stay with Michael Stipe. She failed to mention
initially that Kurt had been seen at their Lake Washington house on Saturday
morning, April 2nd, by "Cali," (Michael Dewitt), the male nanny who was living
at the Cobain residence. Cali later claimed he informed Courtney on Saturday,
April 2nd, that Kurt had been to the house earlier that morning. Cali said Kurt
came into his bedroom and they had a short conversation.
Courtney asked me to find someone in Seattle to watch a drug dealer's apartment and
other locations in case Kurt turned up, but she didn't ask us to watch the Lake
Washington house, the one place we later learned Kurt had actually been seen!
I sub-contracted with a P.I. firm in Seattle for the surveillance.
A False Police Report
Monday, April 4th.
I met with Courtney again at the Peninsula hotel. Courtney told me she had called
in a missing person's report pretending to be Kurt's mother, Wendy O'Conner.
As we monitored the progress of the surveillance team in Seattle, we continued working with
the credit card company trying to track the use of Kurt's credit card. Someone was still
attempting to use the card for various charges.
Courtney advised us Kurt only stays in the best hotels. We began calling hotels from
listings in the Seattle phone book. At one time we thought we had located him at a hotel
under one of the aliases Courtney had given us. I notified Courtney and she asked us to
watch the hotel in case Kurt might leave.
Courtney told us she didn't want Kurt to know she was looking for him, but during an
earlier phone conversation, Courtney told me Kurt was suicidal. "Everyone thinks
he's going to die," she announced. So now I had to wonder why she wouldn't want
the police or someone else to go to the room and try to save him?
After less than an hour, Courtney called me and said she talked to the person in the
room and it wasn't Kurt. Of course I wondered why she'd call his room if she
didn't want him to know she was looking for him.
Wednesday, April 6th.
Kurt had still not been located. At the hotel later that afternoon, I
volunteered to go to Seattle and search for Kurt. One of Courtney's friends
in the room said, "Why don't you go up there, Courtney?"
"I can't, I have business I have to take care of here," Courtney replied.
I asked Courtney not to tell anyone I was coming because they might alert Kurt.
She agreed but later told me she had called Cali to tell him I was on my way to
Seattle. Courtney told me earlier that she didn't trust Cali. Now she claimed,
"He won't tell anyone."
"Save the American Icon, Tom!" Courtney shouted dramatically as I left the hotel
room and headed for the airport.
The Seattle Search
Wednesday, April 6th 11:30 PM.
I picked up Kurt's best friend, Dylan Carlson at his apartment. We went to a cafe
where we ate and planned our strategy for locating Kurt and finding out what was going on.
I asked Dylan if he felt Kurt was suicidal. He replied, "No. Not at all. He's under a lot
of pressure, but he's handling things pretty good."
I asked Dylan if he'd ever been told that the Rome incident was a "suicide attempt,"
and he said, "No. Kurt said it was just an accident."
If Cobain was so "suicidal," and if he had really "tried to kill himself" a month
earlier, I wondered why nobody clued in his best friend, the guy he hangs out with!
Wouldn't they want Dylan to keep a close eye on Kurt? And if Kurt was so "suicidal,"
wouldn't Courtney want to make sure Dylan didn't allow him to have access to guns?
Dylan told me Kurt had been afraid of intruders at the house lately, and that he wanted
a gun for protection. So he said he helped Kurt buy a shotgun to have at the house when
he returned from rehab. He said Kurt didn't want the shotgun registered in his name
because the police had just confiscated his other guns. He didn't want them to know he
had this one or they might confiscate it also.
After leaving the cafe, Dylan and I checked out a drug dealer's apartment on Capitol
Hill and several hotels on the Aurora strip where Kurt had been known to stay from
time to time.
I mentioned to Dylan that Courtney had told me Kurt only stays at the "best hotels."
Dylan appeared puzzled. "No, he doesn't. He usually stays in some pretty ratty places."
While Dylan and I were driving around Seattle, I asked him if we should check with
Kurt's mother in Aberdeen. Dylan replied, "No. Kurt wouldn't go there. He doesn't
get along with his mom."
Thursday Morning, April 7th. 2:15 AM.
We went to the Lake Washington house. I waited in the car while Dylan walked
up alone as we had previously planned. We didn't want to alert Kurt to my presence
if at all possible. Dylan came back to the car after at least five minutes saying
no one was home. I wondered what took so long if no one was home?
We went to a pay phone and called Courtney. She was at Rosemary Carroll's house in
Los Angeles. Dylan talked with Courtney. I told him to have her call the alarm
company and ask them to turn off the alarm so we could go in the house.
Upon returning to the Lake Washington house, we gained access through an unlocked
kitchen window. While we were searching the house, Dylan commented, "I've never
seen the house this clean before." A television was still on in one of the bedrooms
upstairs and the bed was unmade. Dylan told me this was Cali's room.
We didn't find Kurt. Dylan didn't tell me about the room above the garage, and since
it was dark and raining, I hadn't noticed it. I dropped Dylan off at his apartment
and went to my hotel for a few hours sleep.
I picked Dylan up later and we resumed our search. We spent most of the day on Thursday
checking out some of Kurt's hangouts and talking to people who might know where he was.
As evening approached, we headed for the small town of Carnation located about 30 miles
east of Seattle where the Cobains owned two vacant cabins situated on several acres of
property. But in the dark, Dylan became unsure as to whether or not he could locate the
property. The increasing rain didn't help much so we eventually turned back. We'd try
We stopped at a pay phone and Dylan made a call. When he returned to the car, he said,
"Courtney's had some trouble. She got arrested and she's in the hospital."
Dylan eventually managed to speak with Courtney on the phone to get further instructions.
Courtney wanted us to go back to the Lake Washington house to look for the shotgun. She
said it could be in a hidden compartment in her closet.
Since Cali had been at the house quite a lot, I wondered why she hadn't asked him to
look there before now?
Dylan and I returned to the Lake Washington house. Inside I found a note from "Cali" which
had been placed on the main stairway. It wasn't there the night before. The note read
in part, "I can't believe you managed to be in the house without me noticing.
You're a f---ing a--hole for not calling Courtney..."
I had a feeling the note was intended for me to find, not Kurt. It just seemed phony.
When I mentioned this note later to Rosemary Carroll (a person who knew Kurt, Courtney
and Cali very well), she agreed, "Didn't it Tom? Didn't it sound phony?!"
On Thursday afternoon, April 7th, Cali told friends he was leaving for Los Angeles.
Although I spoke with him later, I never got to see or talk to Cali while I was in
Seattle looking for Kurt. I had the feeling he was trying to avoid me.
Cali later claimed he was hardly at the house from Monday on. He said he wasn't staying
at the house because Courtney kept calling and saying she knew Kurt was there.
The obvious question: if Cali was hardly at the house himself, why would he find it so
hard to believe Kurt had been in the house without him noticing? And if Courtney told
Cali she knew Kurt was there, why wasn't she having us watch the house during our
Kurt Is Found
Friday morning, April 8th.
Dylan and I were on our way to the Carnation property once again. We stopped for gas
and Dylan got out to make a phone call. When he came back to the car, Dylan
said a friend just told him a body was found at the Lake Washington house. Was it
Cali, Kurt or someone else? We turned on the car radio and soon heard that the
person found dead was Kurt Cobain. Dylan showed no reaction.
Later we heard on the radio that Kurt's body was found in the "greenhouse." I turned
to Dylan and asked, "What's the greenhouse?" Dylan told me it was a room above
"Why didn't we look there?" I asked.
"It's just a dirty little room. I think they keep some lumber in there or something,"
I called my office and spoke with Ben Klugman. He told me the credit card company
indicated someone had continued trying to use Kurt's credit card as recent as
Friday morning, April 8th, just hours before Cobain's body was found.
We soon learned Cobain had been dead for two days or more. Now it was apparent that
someone had been trying to use his missing credit card since the time he left Los Angeles
to return to Seattle. Someone also attempted to use that same card after Cobain died!
I called the Seattle homicide detectives and tried to tell them something was wrong.
The detective told me Kurt was locked in the room by himself. He said the door was
locked from the inside and the fire department had to break a window on the door
to get in, inferring that Cobain had to have been alone in the greenhouse when he
died. I assumed they must know what they're talking about, but I was curious about
what kind of door lock this was.
I spoke to Courtney on the phone that afternoon. She wasn't at all upset that we
hadn't found Kurt. She acted as if she thought Kurt died the night before. If so,
we could have saved him if we'd found him in time! Why wasn't she angry at us?
Courtney tried to get me to talk to the press. I told her I didn't want to say anything
until I found out more about what happened. This whole thing smelled really rotten!
I left Seattle and flew back to Los Angeles.
Return To Seattle
Wednesday, April 13th.
I met with Courtney's entertainment attorney, Rosemary Carroll, at her Hollywood
office. She indicated that she was suspicious about Courtney's involvement in
"He wasn't suicidal, Tom. Kurt wasn't suicidal!" Rosemary blurted
with a deep sigh.
Rosemary told me that Courtney had called her "a couple of weeks ago" and asked
her to find "the meanest, most vicious divorce lawyer" she could find. Courtney
also asked Rosemary if the prenuptial agreement could be voided.
Rosemary then told me that Kurt had also called during that same time period. According
to Rosemary, Kurt hadn't completed his will yet. He told Rosemary he wanted Courtney
taken out of it.
Rosemary indicated she was disturbed and somewhat suspicious that Courtney wouldn't let
her or anyone else see the so-called "suicide note." I mentioned to Rosemary that
Courtney said she couldn't go to Seattle herself because she "had business in L.A."
"She didn't have any business in L.A.!" Rosemary snapped.
During our meeting, Rosemary also told me that on Thursday morning, while Courtney was
at her house talking to Dylan Carlson on the phone, she overheard Courtney say,
"Be sure and check the greenhouse."
Since Courtney directed Dylan to check the greenhouse, I couldn't help but wonder why
she hadn't asked Cali to check the greenhouse in the past few days.
We now know that after talking to Dylan on the phone Thursday morning, Courtney left
Rosemary Carroll's house and went back to the Peninsula Hotel. A short while later,
she called 911. First reports have Courtney overdosing again. She was later arrested.
Rosemary has since shown me evidence that Courtney's "arrest" may have been a
deliberately planned event.
As Rosemary and I concluded our meeting, we both agreed it would be best for me to
return to Seattle to further investigate Cobain's death. Rosemary, however, was
adamant that Courtney should not be told of the private discussions we were
having regarding the suspicious circumstances and events surrounding Kurt's
I flew back to Seattle and checked into a hotel. The next day I went to the Lake
Washington house. A security guard at the house let me in and I found Courtney
sitting at the dining room table. As I approached and sat down to talk, she said,
"I guess I really found the right P.I. this time." The flattery was nice, but it
didn't make much sense.
After a short conversation, Courtney got up to get a cigarette and a lady walked over
to where I was sitting. She was wearing a black T-shirt that read, "Grunge Is Dead."
I assumed she was a relative of Kurt's, maybe a sister or cousin. She stood in
front of me and asked, "You're the investigator?" I nodded while she continued,
"What do you think?"
Not knowing who she was, I replied, "I don't know. What do you think?"
She answered by introducing herself. "Well, I'm Kurt's mom, Wendy. I don't know.
Something doesn't seem right. Why didn't Dylan look in the greenhouse?"
I noticed Courtney looking over her shoulder as Wendy and I talked. She seemed to
be concerned about our conversation. I told Wendy I'd like to talk to her at length
sometime in the next few days. She agreed and said she'd like to talk to me too.
As Courtney walked back towards us Wendy began walking away. Courtney put her
arms around Wendy and kissed her. I noticed Courtney whispering something in
Wendy's ear. The rest of the time I was at the house, Wendy seemed cool
towards me, almost evasive.
I had to see the "Note"
Courtney took me upstairs where we sat on her bed and talked. Since she hadn't even
let her close friend Rosemary Carroll see the so-called "suicide note," I had to
come up with a way to get a copy for me in order to examine it in detail.
"I heard you read the note on TV the other day," I commented. "I was confused about
something. It sounded like the note said, 'I'm lying here on the bed. . .' If Kurt
was lying on the bed when he wrote the note, why was the bed was so neat when I
came in here the other night? It didn't look like anyone had been on this bed."
"No, Tom, I was lying on the bed," Courtney answered and repeated, "I was lying on
the bed recording the message to Kurt's fans."
"Are you sure that's what you said? " I asked. "I got the impression it was Kurt
saying he was lying on the bed."
"No. Here, I'll show you," she said, and reached over to retrieve a folded paper
from under a pillow. Handing me the note, Courtney pointed out, "It's only a copy.
The police have the original."
I studied the note as if looking for the phrase in question, then commented, "I
can't read this without my glasses. Can I go downstairs and make a copy on your
fax machine? I'll look at it later."
"Yeah...sure," Courtney mumbled as her eyes dropped out of an icy stare. When I
came back up, Courtney was kneeling on the floor looking in a phone book. A
telephone was on the floor next to her. "Would you wait downstairs, Tom?" she
growled. A few minutes earlier she was friendly--now she was obviously irritated!
Our Trip to Carnation
Later that day we made plans to go to the Carnation property. Courtney told me, Eric
Erlandson, (guitarist in Courtney's band "Hole"), was going with us. A short time
later Courtney took Eric into another room to talk. When they came out, Eric
left the house alone in his van.
"I thought Eric was going with us?" I asked.
"He'll meet us there," Courtney replied.
We left the house followed by a couple of television news vans which had been
staked out at the Cobain residence. Losing the vans after a few blocks, I drove
Courtney to the Carnation property with Kat Bjelland, (a long-time friend of
Courtney's and guitarist for Babes In Toyland), in the back seat of my rental car.
As we drove, Courtney began talking about the "son of a bitch" who gave the
story to the Associated Press saying she had overdosed on April 2nd. She appeared
agitated as she grumbled, "I'm going to find out who the hell it was and sue that
mother f...er for libel. I can prove I was at the hotel. People saw me there.
It was a total lie."
"You told me you planted that story," I reminded Courtney.
"Huh?...Oh" she responded and turned to look out the window.
During the drive Courtney wanted to stop twice for snacks. We also missed the turn-off
when Courtney couldn't remember which road to take. Temporarily lost, we stopped to
solicit directions from a nearby farmer. I learned later that one of the houses on
the property had just been built. Courtney must have been out there several times
while the house was under construction. Certainly she knew how to get there. It
actually seemed she was deliberately delaying our arrival for some reason.
Arriving at the Carnation property, I noticed the two houses on the property reflected
what I'd already come to know about Kurt and Courtney's individual personalities. One was
an old weathered cabin full of well-used furniture and bedding. It looked like the home
of a person living in poverty! This is where Kurt apparently felt the most comfortable.
The other house is a brand new wood sided mansion, vacant and yet to be furnished. This
house was an "exhibition" of success and wealth.
The two houses are separated by a pond with a newly constructed walking bridge
connecting the old to the new.
We went into the old cabin first. Courtney and Kat went upstairs to the loft while
I stayed downstairs to look around. I noticed a jacket and other clothing spread
around the living room and on the floor near the coffee table was a large box
containing nothing but Rolling Stone magazines, about thirty or so.
Courtney tried to convince me Kurt had been to the Carnation property after he
returned to Seattle from the rehab in Los Angeles. But as I looked around the old
cabin, I noticed everything was covered with a very thin layer of moss due to the
humid weather in Carnation. The presence of the moss indicated no one had disturbed
anything in this cabin for quite some time.
When Courtney and Kat came back downstairs, Courtney reached into her coat pocket
and pulled out a cloth pouch. "Look Tom. Kurt was here," she said, as she opened
the pouch revealing a syringe inside.
Why would he have left a syringe here? I thought to myself. And what about the moss
all over everything? I was having a hard time believing Kurt had been here.
As we continued looking around the old cabin, Kat suddenly screamed. Courtney and
I ran to find her in the bathroom looking into the toilet. There were five dead
rats inside! It looked like they'd been there for quite some time.
Now it was obvious no one had used this cabin recently! I suspected Courtney brought
the pouch containing the syringe with her.
In the new house, we found a sleeping bag, some cigarette butts, and soda cans scattered
about. Courtney asked me to gather these items up to take back with us. She said she
wanted to get them fingerprinted.
Eric didn't show up at the Carnation property while we were there. Had he come and
gone before we arrived?
We left the Carnation property and headed back to the Lake Washington house.
During the drive back Courtney told Kat and I that she was going to make a
rubber hand from a cast she'd made of Kurt's hand. She said she was going to
use it to slap people in the face and say, "There! That's from Kurt!"
I mentioned I'd worked with hand casts and told her fingerprints could even be
duplicated using a silicon material to fill the mold. Courtney appeared somewhat
discouraged, as if something just went wrong. I never heard any more about
printing the items found at the Carnation property.
Had this been part of a plan to convince me and others that Kurt had been to the
Carnation property after leaving the rehab in Los Angeles? Did Courtney accidentally
reveal her scheme by saying too much?
At one point Courtney talked to narcotics Detective Antonio Terry on my car phone.
I later learned she'd been talking to Terry quite a lot during the time Kurt was
missing. Detective Terry was even mentioned in the missing person's report as
having additional information about Kurt.
Remember Detective Terry's name--it will come up again later.
Conversations during the drive indicated Courtney was still thinking more about
her herself than about Kurt. She seemed to be obsessed with her career.
While Courtney was out of the car at one time, I heard radio commentator, Paul
Harvey, talk about a rumored suicide pact which supposedly existed between
Courtney and Kurt. This was typical of the type of planted stories I'd heard
Courtney originate on her own and then blame others for leaking to the press.
I wondered if there was a connection between Courtney's fake "overdose" Saturday
night and her possible deliberate overdose and arrest Thursday morning. Had she
expected Kurt to die Saturday night? Had she expected us to find his body
Thursday morning? Had she tried to make this look like a suicide pact?
Obstructing The Investigation.
Back at the house, I told Courtney I'd like to talk to Cali and Dylan together.
Courtney replied, "Cali went to rehab in El Paso... or Georgia... no, he's in L.A.
with friends." Then she shouted to Eric, "Call Cali and tell him to get back up
here on the next plane."
Dylan arrived at the house while I was in the kitchen. When I came out and started
looking for him, I was told he was upstairs talking to Courtney in her bedroom.
They came downstairs together after about twenty minutes. It was obvious Dylan had
just gotten a heroin fix.
I took Dylan into the kitchen to talk. As I began questioning him, I noticed his
response was canned as if he'd just been prepared and rehearsed. Dylan kept nodding
off from the heroin. There was no sense in continuing.
I left the house and asked Eric to call my hotel when Cali got there. After several
hours, I called and spoke to Eric. He told me that after I left, Courtney had him
call Cali and tell him he didn't have to come to Seattle. Eric said, "I don't know
what's going on here!"
Saturday, April 16th.
Ben Klugman had flown to Seattle the day before to work with me. Ben and I went back
to the Lake Washington house to talk to Courtney. The lady who answered the door told
us Courtney was upstairs sleeping. I asked her if Wendy was there. She said Wendy
was downstairs. I asked the lady to let Wendy know I was there and to ask her
if we could talk.
The lady left but returned a minute or two later. "Wendy says she has nothing to
talk to you about," she said.
We left the house and after following up on some other leads, Ben and I returned to
our hotel. The electrical supervisor who had been at the scene of Kurt's death
met with Ben and me later in my hotel room. He described the position of the
body and the shotgun. He also told us, "Kurt's hair looked like it had been
combed by a hairdresser. It was all spread out nice and even."
I realized this could just be one man's perception of what he thought he saw
while under stress, but I wanted to see the police photographs to see what he
was talking about.
We later learned Courtney called the electrical contractors on Wednesday,
April 6th, before I had agreed to fly to Seattle, and instructed them to
begin work on the lights and motion detector on the greenhouse! Did she
know Kurt was inside? Was she trying to get the body discovered? It just
all seemed a little strange!
Document Exam - Not Credible
I had faxed off several documents, including a copy of the "suicide note," to two
separate document examiners in Los Angeles. The document examiners later told me,
based on the photocopies they had examined, it was their opinion Courtney wrote
the letter left on the stairs, not Cali.
This explanation wasn't logical. Courtney was still in Beverly Hills when this
note showed up on the stairs. Why would Courtney write a note and make it look
like Cali had written it? Why not just tell Cali what to write?
If the document examiners were right, something very unusual was going on here.
Still, I found their conclusions hard to believe.
My Meeting with the Police
One week after Cobain's body was found, I went to the Seattle police
station and met with Sgt. Cameron, the lead homicide investigator assigned to
the Cobain case.
Items discussed with Sgt. Cameron included:
Numerous inconsistencies and contradictions in logic...
The missing credit card and continued activity on the card after Kurt's death...
The fact that Courtney specifically told Dylan to check the greenhouse and yet he
didn't even tell me about the greenhouse...
The letter on the stairs from Cali seemed phony and didn't make sense...
Document examiners said Courtney wrote the letter on the stairs...
Doubts about Kurt's handwriting on the so-called "suicide note,"
especially the bottom portion...
The electrician's statement about Kurt's hair appearing to have been combed...
Courtney's motives for possible involvement in Cobain's death?...
She'd get more money from a suicide than from a divorce. With a suicide,
Courtney would inherit and control the entire Cobain and Nirvana estate.
If Kurt divorced her, she'd have to settle for half, at best, of Kurt's assets...
Kurt's record sales would increase, leaving Courtney with even more income...
And finally, based on what I'd learned about her personality, Kurt's death
and the publicity it generated would help Courtney launch her own career.
I asked Sgt. Cameron why he told me the door was locked from the inside,
pointing out that the lock was a simple push-in and twist type. "Anyone could
have pulled that door shut after locking it!" I added.
"There was a stool wedged up against the door," Sgt. Cameron replied, with a touch
of resentment in his voice.
Once again I assumed the police had evidence that Kurt was alone when the shotgun
was discharged, but I still had some real problems with this case!
When I asked Sgt. Cameron if I could look at the photographs to see why the electrical
supervisor thought Kurt's hair had been combed, he responded, "We haven't
developed the photographs and probably never will. We don't develop photographs
"Nothing you've said convinces me this is anything but a suicide," Sgt. Cameron
informed me as we concluded the meeting.
Continuing The Investigation
I spent the next few weeks trying to determine if my document examiners were correct.
Through my own testing I was eventually convinced they were wrong. I concluded Cali
did write the letter I found on the stairs at the Lake Washington house. It was not
written by Courtney.
One of the document examiners finally admitted her mistake. The other remained firm
in her original opinion. I don't believe in the accuracy of the work done by these
two document examiners. We want to get to the truth here. I'm not interested in false
hype over unreliable evidence.
I called Detective Kirkland and told him the document examiners had made a mistake.
He didn't understand the significance in the first place, so it was obvious they
had paid little attention to anything I had to say about this case.
I studied media material and found it was full of planted stories and misinformation.
One story had Courtney grieving at home while she was actually calling me from
Canyon Ranch in Arizona and bragging to me that she was sleeping with Billy Corgan.
This was only three weeks after Kurt died!
Courtney Love On Notice
May 18th, 1994.
I sent Courtney a letter indicating my suspicions about Kurt's death.
I'm sure you know by now that my investigation has been somewhat more active than
you might have been aware of. The purpose of this letter is to clarify my position
regarding our working relationship.
You may recall our trip to Carnation on Thursday, April 14th. I mentioned during
the drive that I was beginning to turn over some "rocks" that I wasn't sure you'd
want turned over. I asked you if you wanted me to continue digging. Kat, who was
in the back seat, said, "Oh yeah, she wants to know everything." You responded,
"Yeah Tom, do what ever it takes. I want to know everything that happened." Your
instructions were clear, so in the days and weeks that followed, I proceeded to
"do whatever it takes."
As the investigation continued, my attempts to get at the truth often seemed to
be deliberately hindered. While reading some of the articles being written in
newspapers and magazines, I discovered the information being released to the
press was inaccurate and often cleverly misleading.
I consider the circumstances surrounding your husband's death to be highly
suspicious. My investigation has exposed a number of inconsistencies in the
facts of this case as well as many contradictions in sound logic and common
sense. I'm required to report findings such as these to the police, so on
Friday, April 15th, I spoke with Sgt. Cameron about some of what I've learned so far.
As I've experienced in past cases, police detectives don't often welcome the work
of outside investigators. I've learned it's somewhat idealistic and naive to think
the truth might be more important than professional pride.
I've decided to continue working on this case until I see it to its conclusion,
without additional charge. Attached you will find an invoice which accounts for
the charges billed for our services, including time and expenses. As you can see,
prior to my return to Seattle on April 13th, these charges exceeded the retainer
amount. However, please consider your bill paid in full. There will be no further
As I pursue the truth regarding the events surrounding your husband's death,
your cooperation and assistance will be appreciated, but not required.
THE GRANT COMPANY
Maintaining The Lines of Communication.
I anticipated an angry reply from Courtney. Instead, she responded by
retaining me to do more work for her! This additional work was unrelated to
the investigation into Kurt's death, but it was always time consuming and
obviously an attempt to keep me on the payroll. Whenever I started talking
to people close to Courtney about Kurt's death, she'd hire me to do another
job. Courtney had assumed I'd keep quiet as long as the money kept coming in.
This became even more obvious as work was completed and she didn't seem to care
about the results.
During conversations with Courtney over the next several months, she verbally
encouraged me to continue investigating Kurt's death, but often sabotaged my
efforts to obtain information.
I took advantage of her somewhat foolish strategy. Courtney wanted me under her
wing and in a position where she could keep tabs on what I was doing. That worked
for me. It allowed me to stay informed about what she was doing too! Ethically,
I had no problem with the arrangement since I'd given her written notice about
Actually, unless she was innocent of any wrong doing in Cobain's death, she really
had very few options at this point. Getting angry would just create more suspicion.
Cutting off contact would keep her in the dark about what I was doing.
Courtney often told me she thought Kurt was with "Katlin" before he died. Katlin
was a drug dealer living in Seattle's Capitol Hill area. Since we had someone
watching Katlin's apartment and video taping nearly everyone coming and going,
it seemed odd that Courtney had not asked for the surveillance tapes.
At a meeting later in my office in Beverly Hills, Cali told us he checked the
greenhouse on Sunday but never looked after that. He said, "It's just a dirty
gross little room." The greenhouse is a rather large, clean room. It
measures 19' x 23'!
In the May 11th issue of the Seattle Times, Dylan told a Times reporter he didn't
know the greenhouse was there. "For all the times I'd been there, I didn't even
realize there was a room above it associated with the house." This contradicted
the conversation I had with Dylan in the car on the day Kurt was found.
Several weeks later, Courtney told me she gave Cali $30,000 to go to a rehab
somewhere back east. She was angry because he took his girlfriend with him.
I couldn't help but wonder if this was actually an excuse for a payoff.
Police Reports Bring Startling Revelations
I finally received copies of the police reports. The reports indicated the credit
card used by Cobain to purchase the tickets for his flight from Los Angeles to
Seattle - the credit card Courtney had canceled but someone was still attempting
to use - was not found in his wallet or other property. Kurt had two other
Versateller cards in his wallet, along with $120 in cash which was on the floor,
and $63 in cash, which was found in Kurt's coat pocket.
Studying the reports further, I discovered misleading information had been given to
the police, to me, and to the press.
The Missing Persons report filed by Courtney Love while pretending to be Wendy
O'Conner, reads, "Mr. Cobain ran away from California facility and flew back to
Seattle. He also bought a shotgun and may be suicidal."
The wording of this report made it sound like he purchased the shotgun AFTER he
left the rehab in L.A. The report also failed to mention Kurt was last seen at
the Lake Washington house after he left the rehab!
According to the police reports: The stool Sgt. Cameron said was wedged against the entrance doors, was actually
just sitting in front of the unlocked balcony doors on the other side of the room.
These doors did not allow access since there's no stairway to that balcony.
As mentioned earlier, the entrance door to the greenhouse had a push and twist
lock. Anyone could have locked it and pulled it shut as they left, so Kurt was
NOT barricaded in the room as the police had indicated to me and as the media
Kurt's driver's license had been removed and placed in front of his wallet
for a photograph BY AN OFFICER on the scene. Kurt DID NOT leave his license out
so his body could be identified as falsely reported in the media.
The first officers on the scene had taken 23 Polaroids. The police DID
have photographs they could have shown me!
The canceled credit card was not in Kurt's possession.
There was no attempt in these reports to explain the missing credit card...
and yet the case was now closed!
No Legible Prints on the Shotgun!
The police reports also indicated the shotgun had been sent to the crime lab
to be checked for fingerprints. The Fingerprint Analysis Report for the
shotgun reads: " The above item was processed for prints on 05/06/94 by Sr.
ID Technician T. Geranimo, #4466. Four cards of latent prints were lifted.
The four cards of lifted latent prints contain no legible prints."
So the shotgun wasn't even checked for prints until nearly one month after
Cobain's body was found!
I have to wonder how Kurt could have handled this shotgun before he left for
rehab and after he returned to the house without ever leaving any legible
More Deaths - More Murders?
June 4, 1994.
Narcotics Detective Terry was murdered. He's the first Seattle police officer to
be murdered in the line of duty in nine years. I've read the news reports and
although it is quite a coincidence, it doesn't appear Detective Terry's murder
is connected to the Cobain case. But, I'd like to know more!
June 15, 1994.Scroll to the top of this page
Kristen Pfaff, the bass player for Courtney's band Hole, died of an alleged drug
overdose. Her body was found in the bathtub inside the bathroom of her Seattle
I'm very suspicious of the circumstances of Kristen's death. We know Kurt was
leaving Seattle and Courtney when he ended up dead. Kristen was also leaving
Seattle and Courtney when she ended up dead. She had a U-Haul trailer all
packed and loaded. She was leaving the next morning, going back to
During a media interview, Courtney said she had to drag Eric away from Kristen's
body. So we know Courtney was in Seattle at the time of Kristen's death.
Was Kristen's death just a coincidence?... or was it murder?
Reports of so-called copycat suicides continue to surface. Many of Kurt's fans are
having difficulty dealing with his alleged "suicide" and feel if he thought suicide
was the answer for his problems, then they'd solve their problems the same way.
I'm appalled that no one in the Cobain camp is speaking out about this, trying to put
a stop to these senseless deaths.
June 17, 1994.
The original so-called "suicide" note from Kurt's death was returned to Courtney. The police also returned the note from Rome at this time. Courtney had given the Rome note to the police for handwriting comparison. I find it interesting that the police would return some of the last pieces of physical evidence relating to Cobain's death to Courtney, immediately after Kristen Pfaff was found dead!
As my investigation continued from Beverly Hills, I tried to get Cali back in for
additional questioning. He was living in Los Angeles at the time, so it would have
been convenient for him to come to my office.
Every time I started to focus on Cali, Courtney would give me another time-consuming
job unrelated to this case.
Courtney eventually tried to get me to sign a confidentiality agreement. I told her
to send me a copy and I'd look at it. But, I added, "I'm not going to sign
anything that could interfere with my investigation."
Courtney also said she wanted to get Cali and another friend of hers by the name of
Renee Naverette, to sign a confidentiality agreement. She said, "Everyone who works
for me has to sign it."
Why now? I wondered. She's known Cali for years!
The Rolling Stone Interview
December 15, 1994
This issue of Rolling Stone featured an interview with Courtney
Love by David Fricke. This was one of the most interesting interviews I've read so
far. It describes Courtney's mind-set and reveals what I consider to be a psychopathic
Throughout this interview, Courtney seems preoccupied with convincing everyone how
suicidal Kurt was. She tells a story about Kurt bringing a gun to the hospital room
when Frances was born and she heroically grabbed the gun from him and said, "I'll go
first, I can't have you do it first. I'll go first."
This whole story is difficult to believe. I find it interesting that Courtney
was so absorbed in promoting the image of Kurt's suicidal tendencies right after
his beautiful daughter was born, that she showed no concern at all for the fact
that Frances would grow up hearing this horror story once it got published. It
certainly wouldn't be the best thing for her self-esteem.
So now we learn... there was another Note!
Questions about Kurt's so-called "suicide note" were also raised by David Fricke
during the Rolling Stone interview with Courtney. Feeling pressured to explain why
the note was so confusing and not really suicidal, Courtney finally admitted Kurt
also left her another note!
During a taped telephone conversation between her and I on January 19, 1995, I asked
Courtney about this "other" note. She claimed she found it on her bed under a pillow.
I know this is not true because Thursday morning, well after the time of Kurt's death,
I looked under the pillows. I also looked under the bed and between the mattresses.
That's where I found a package of the drug Rohypnol that I later told Courtney about.
Dylan and I were looking everywhere for drugs and drug paraphernalia that might indicate
whether or not Kurt had been in the house recently.
I asked her why she didn't tell me about the "other" note when she found it, or even
some time later. After all, she had indicated she wanted me to investigate her
husband's death. I couldn't understand why she'd withhold such a vital piece of
evidence! Courtney said she didn't think it was necessary.
"I told Sgt. Cameron about it," she told me. "And I told Rosemary about it." Another
If the police knew right away about this "other" note, it would have been listed as
evidence and mentioned in the police reports. If Rosemary Carroll would have known
about it during the first few months after Cobain's death, she certainly would have
told me. She had put her career and relationship with Courtney at risk to provide me
with evidence, including Courtney's phone records from the Peninsula Hotel. She was
working closely with me to find out what happened. Rosemary was telling me everything
else. There's no way she would have kept details of this "second note" from me!
Even more important however, is what the second note says. Courtney admitted to me it
wasn't suicidal. She quoted some lines to Rolling Stone, "You know I love you, I love
Frances, I'm so sorry. Please don't follow me... I'll be there, I'll protect you. I
don't know where I'm going, I just can't be here anymore."
So the reason why Courtney initially kept the second note secret from everyone is obvious:
the second note clarifies that the first note (found by police at the scene) was simply Kurt's
retirement letter written to his fans. Kurt was quitting the music business, he was leaving Courtney
and he was leaving Seattle. That's all he was doing... and Courtney knew it!
There was no actual "suicide" note. In fact, several handwritting experts who have examined
the alleged "suicide" note, have concluded the words at the bottom, "which will be so much happier
without me," appear to have been added to the note by another hand.
My own tests with that so-called "suicide" note indicated that when it is enlarged on a copy machine, the inconsitencies
become even more clear. The ink printed line of that one critical comment, ("which will be so much happier without
me"), are thinner than all of the ink printed lines in the rest of the note. At the very least, this indicates
that line was added after the rest of the note was completed. The pressure from the hand using
the pen to add that line was not consistent with the pressure from the hand that wrote the body of the note.
What About The Note From The Rome Incident?
During the taped conversation I had with her on January 19, 1995, Courtney told me the
Rome note mostly just "trashes" her. But, she claimed, "It says one thing very definitely
suicidal." Then Courtney quotes a line from the note written to her by Kurt in Rome.
"Dr. Baker says I would have to choose between life and death. I'm choosing death."
If this statement really is in the Rome note, what does it mean? To think that the doctor
was telling Kurt that suicide was some kind of an option is absurd! I've never known a
doctor to recommend suicide as a cure for drug addiction. Have you? I think it's obvious
to any person with the least bit of common sense, this Doctor was simply telling Kurt
that if he doesn't get off drugs, he'd eventually die from using them.
Unfortunately, Kurt was severely addicted to heroin. I believe Kurt's response meant
that he was going to do what he wanted, even if he might eventually die from his
drug addiction. Heroin withdrawal involves physical pain and torment. This would
be a typical response from a severe heroin addict who was afraid or wasn't ready
to kick an overwhelming heroin addiction.
A self-destructive comment? Yes. But, suicidal? No. Ask any therapist. There's a
huge difference between the two.
A simple statement from Kurt that he would make his own choices in life, even
if it meant the use of heroin might eventually kill him, got twisted by Courtney
into something she thought she could use to convince everyone, "He wanted to
Keep in mind, the incident in Rome was never called a suicide attempt, by anyone,
until AFTER Kurt died in Seattle.
The doctor in Rome even said he believed the overdose was an accident. Dr.
Galleta says, "The last image I have of him, which in light of the tragedy
now seems pathetic, is of a young man playing with the little girl. He did not
seem like a young man who wanted to end it all."
In a recently released book "COBAIN" by the editors of Rolling Stone, Neil Strauss
writes regarding the Rome event, "Gold Mountain, [Nirvana's management company],
still denies that a suicide attempt was made. A note was found, says a company
spokesman, but Kurt insisted it wasn't a suicide note. He just took all of his
and Courtney's money and was going to run away and disappear."
Was it or wasn't it? Well, Kurt Cobain, the person who wrote the note, insisted it
was NOT a suicide note.
What more do we need here?!
Now if Kurt was lying, Courtney could simply release the note from Rome to the public.
That would prove she was telling the truth! It would prove Kurt DID try to commit suicide
But there's a little problem here. On January 19, 1995, during a tape recorded telephone
conversation, Courtney told me that when the police returned the note from Rome to
her, Sgt. Cameron said, "This will never do you any good. I'd get rid of this if
I were you."
"So," Courtney says. . . "I burned it!"
for additional links listed in the upper left column