The summary is updated and revised periodically as I find time to work on it and improve the presentation of facts. It does not contain ALL of the details and information relating to this investigation. It merely highlights some of the events in brief comments so the reader might be better informed as to what transpired in April of 1994.
This limited information is not intended to PROVE that Kurt Cobain's death was the result of a murder. It simply lays some of the foundation for a much more detailed and complex case. More evidence will be presented at the proper time and place as the theory of suicide unravels and the truth regarding Kurt's death emerges.
Courtney and Kurt had not been getting along. They'd been talking about divorce. In the weeks before Kurt died, Courtney called one of their attorneys, Rosemary Carroll and told Rosemary to get the meanest, most vicious divorce lawyer she could find.
Courtney also asked Rosemary if the prenuptial agreement could be voided.
Kurt called Rosemary too. He hadn't completed his will. He told Rosemary he wanted Courtney taken out of it.
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 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 claims she told Kurt, "This has got to end. You have to be a good daddy!" This statement is a somewhat pretentious one, since it came from a woman who was doing drugs when we were first hired and continued her drug use during the next eight months. It's hard to believe Kurt could have taken this whole scene seriously.
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, Calif.
Sixteen 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 on my case file.)
Courtney never mentioned this message to the media. This doesn't sound like 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. Later in the morning, Michael DeWitt, (also known as "Cali"), the male nanny who was living at the Cobain house, claims Kurt came into his bedroom and had a short conversation with him.
Cali later told us he had informed Courtney later that same day that Kurt had been to the house.
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 becomes significant later in the investigation.
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. Nice to meet you too!" I thought to myself.
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 cancelled 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. Courtney responded sarcastically, "What? That's not enough money for you?" It was time for me and Courtney to get to know each other better.
"Look," I replied, "I'll do whatever I can to help you, but I'm not going to sit here and get ripped every time I say something."
Courtney apologized, then continued to fill us in.
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 some more about Kurt's ability to get money for his needs. She insisted, "This guy can't even catch af___ing cab by himself!"
Courtney told us about the overdose story she had planted with the Associated Press the previous evening. 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'll do Saturday Night Live if he didn't want to do it...
She said she thinks KURT wants 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 Kurt had been seen at their house.)
She asked us to find someone in Seattle to watch a drug dealer's apartment and other locations in case Kurt turned up,but she NEVER asked us to watch the Lake Washington house.
I subcontracted with a P.I. firm in Seattle for the surveillance.
Courtney called in a missing person's report pretending to be Kurt's mother, Wendy O'Conner. The report 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!
We continued working with the credit card company trying to track the use of Kurt's credit card. Someone was still attempting to use it.
Courtney told us Kurt only stays in the BEST hotels. (We later learned he mostly stays in flop house hotels). We began calling hotels looking for Kurt and thought we located him at a hotel under one of his aliases. Courtney said she didn't want Kurt to know she was looking for him, but later she called me and said she talked to the person in the room and it wasn't Kurt.
During a phone conversation, Courtney told me Kurt was suicidal. "Everyone thinks he's going to die," she announced.
Kurt had not been located. Courtney called the electrical contractor in Seattle who had been installing a security system at the Lake Washington house. She instructed the electricians 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?
At the hotel later that afternoon, I volunteered to go toSeattle and search for Kurt. Someone 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.
Rosemary Carroll later told me, "She didn't have any business in L.A."
I asked Courtney not to tell anyone I was coming because they might alert Kurt, but she later called Mike Dewitt, ("Cali"), and told him I was on my way to Seattle.
During an earlier conversation, Courtney told me she didn't trust Cali. Now she said, "He won't tell anyone."
"Save the American Icon, Tom!" Courtney shouted dramatically as I left her hotel room and headed for the airport.
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. Dylan told me Kurt had been afraid of intruders at the house lately, so he helped Kurt buy the shotgun to have for protection when he returned from rehab.
Later we checked out a drug dealer's apartment on Capitol Hill as well as hotels on the Aurora strip where Kurt had been known to stay from time to time.
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, 2:15AM.
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 to her. I told him to have her call the alarm company and 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."
We didn't find Kurt. Dylan didn't tell me about the greenhouse and since it was dark and raining, I hadn't noticed there was a room above the garage.
We now know that after talking to Dylan on the phone, Courtney left Rosemary's and went back to the Peninsula Hotel. A short while later, she called 911. First reports have her overdosing again. She was later arrested. Rosemary Carroll has shown me evidence that this was possibly a deliberate and planned event.
Rosemary also told me that on Thursday morning, while Courtney was at her house talking to Dylan 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.
Dylan and I 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.
Although Courtney was in the hospital as a result of her alleged "overdose," Dylan managed to speak with her 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. Again, I wondered why she hadn't asked Cali 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.
Cali later told us he was hardly at the house from Monday on.If so, why would he find it so hard to believe Kurt had been in the house? Cali says he was hardly there himself! Besides, it's Kurt's house!! What gives Cali the right to be angry at Kurt for being in his own home? This didn't make sense!
Cali explained he wasn't staying at the house because Courtney kept calling and saying she knew Kurt was there. If so, why wasn't she having us watch the house during our surveillance?
Cali told friends he was leaving for Los Angeles Thursday afternoon, the 7th. I never got to see or talk to him while I was in Seattle. I had the feeling he was trying to avoid me.
FRIDAY MORNING, APRIL 8th.
Dylan and I were again on the way to the Carnation property when we stopped for gas. Dylan made a call. When he came back to the car, he said a friend just told him a body was found at the Lake Washington house. We turned on the radio and soon heard that it was Kurt. No reaction from Dylan.
Later we heard Kurt's body was found in the greenhouse. I turned to Dylan and asked, "What's the greenhouse?" He told me it's a room above the garage. I asked, "Why didn't we look there? Dylan replied, "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 says someone had continued trying to use Kurt's credit card as recent as just hours before the body was found. We now know Kurt had been dead for two days or more, so someone was still trying to use his credit card after he died!
I called the Seattle homicide detectives and tried to tell them something was wrong here. 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 Kurt had to have been alone in the 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.
Courtney wasn't at all upset that I hadn't found Kurt. She acted as if she thought Kurt died the night before. If so, we could have saved him! 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 happend. This whole thing smelled rotten!
I left Seattle and flew back to Los Angeles.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13th.
I met with Rosemary Carroll at her Hollywood office. She indicated to me hersuspicions about Courtney's involvement in Kurt's death.
As mentioned before, Rosemary told me that a couple of weeks earlier Courtney had called 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 also called her around that same time. He hadn't completed his will yet and he told Rosemary he wanted Courtney taken out of it.
Rosemary was disturbed that Courtney wouldn't let her or anyone else see the alleged "suicide" note.
We agreed it would be best for me to return to Seattle for further investigation.
I went to the Lake Washington house. Courtney was 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 some conversation, Courtney got up to get a cigarette. 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. As she walked back towards us Wendy began walking away. Courtney put her arms around Wendy and kissed her. Then I noticed Courtney whisper something in Wendy's ear. The rest of the time I was at the house, Wendy seemed cool towards me, almost evasive.
Courtney took me upstairs where we sat on her bed and talked. Since she wouldn't even let her close friend and attorney, Rosemary Carrol, see the suicide note, I had to come up with away to get a copy for myself for closer examination.
"I heard you read the note on TV the other day," I told her. "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 remarked, "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 snapped. A few minutes earlier she was friendly--now she seemed irritated!
Later we made plans to go to the Carnation property. Hole's guitarist Eric Erlandson was supposed to go with us, but while at the Lake Washington house earlier, Courtney took Eric into another room to talk to him in private. When they came out, Eric left the house alone in his van.
I commented, "I thought Eric was going with us." Courtney replied, "He'll meet us there."
I drove Courtney to Carnation. Kat Bjelland, guitarist for Babes In Toyland, rode along in the back seat of my rental car. During the drive 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 became 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.
On the way, Courtney wanted to stop twice for snacks. We also missed the turn off, getting lost temporarily and having to solicit directions from a nearby farmer. This seemed a little strange when I later discovered 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 and it wasn't all that difficult to find. Were these delays in our trip deliberate?
When we arrived at the Carnation property, I noticed the two houses on the property reflected Kurt and Courtney's individual personalities. One is an old weathered cabin with furniture and bedding. The other is a brand new mansion, vacant and unfurnished.
We went into the old cabin first. Courtney and Kat went upstairs to the loft while I stayed downstairs to look around. When they 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.
NO WAY! I thought to myself. This didn't look like something Kurt would use to keep a syringe in. And why would he have left it here? I felt Courtney probably brought the pouch with her.
A few minutes later we found five dead rats in the toilet. They'd been there for quite some time. It was obvious no one had used this cabin recently!
In the new house we found a sleeping bag, some cigarette butts, and some soda cans scattered about. Courtney wanted to take these items back with us. She said she wanted to get them fingerprinted. What's the big deal here? I wondered.
I also noticed Eric never showed up at the Carnation property. Had he come and gone before we arrived?
Courtney apparently changed her mind about prints after a bizzare conversation we had in the car. She 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 it was amazing how you could even duplicate fingerprints. Courtney appeared strangely discouraged. I never heard any more about printing the items found at the Carnation property. Had this been part of a scheme to try to convince me Kurt had been to the Carnation property after leaving the rehab in Los Angeles?
Conversation in the car indicated Courtney was still thinking more about her career than about Kurt.
Courtney also talked to narcotics Detective Antonio Terry on my carphone. 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 Terry's name. It will come up again later.
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 her 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?
Back at the house, I told Courtney I'd like to talk to Cali and Dylan together. Courtney told me, "Cali went to rehab in El Paso, or Georgia... no, he's in L.A. with friends." Courtney 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. Courtney took him into her bedroom for about twenty minutes. When they came down 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. He also 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 to work with me. Ben and I went back to the Lake Washington house to talk to Courtney. The lady answering the door told me 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, returning in a couple of minutes to tell me, "Wendy says she has nothing to talk to you about."
The electrical supervisor who had been at the scene of Kurt's death, met with Ben Klugman and me at 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.
This explanation wasn't logical.
Courtney was still in Beverly Hills when this note showed up on the stairs. If the document
examiners were right, this would indicate a conspiracy of some type. Still, I found their
conclusions hard to believe.
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