COBAIN CASE STUDY MANUAL
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PRIOR TO MY INVOLVEMENTCourtney 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" scene seriously.
MARCH 26, 1994Courtney left Seattle for the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills.
MARCH 30th.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).
APRIL 1st.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 is "suicidal."
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 another time.
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?
9:45 PM.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 surveillance?
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 the garage.
"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," Dylan replied.
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 Kurt's death.
"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 so-called "suicide."
6:30 PMI 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 some time 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 myself 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!
A TRIP TO CARNATIONLater 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 INVESTIGATIONBack 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 I 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 CREDIBLEI 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.
MEETING WITH THE POLICEOn April 15th, one week after Cobain's body was found, I went to the Seattle police station and met with Sgt. Cameron, one of the homicide investigators assigned to the Cobain case.
Items discussed with Sgt. Cameron included:
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 on suicides."
"Nothing you've said convinces me this is anything but a suicide," Sgt. Cameron informed me as we concluded the meeting.
CONTINUING THE INVESTIGATIONI 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 8TH, 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 charges.
As I pursue the truth regarding the events surrounding your husband's death, your cooperation and assistance will be appreciated, but not required.
MAINTAINING LINES OF COMMUNICATIONI 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 Kurtâs 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 didnât 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 my suspicions.
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 REVELATIONSI 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:
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 finger prints.
MORE DEATHS, MORE MURDERS?
JUNE 4th, 1994Narcotics 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 15th.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 apartment.
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 Minneapolis.
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?
"COPYCAT SUICIDES"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 17th.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!
"GAG ORDERS"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 INTERVIEWThe DECEMBER. 15, 1994 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 personality.
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.
And now we learn . . .
Questions about Kurt's so-called "suicide note" were also raised by 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!