Real Name: Kurt Donald Cobain
Case: Suspicious Death
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: April 8, 1994
Details: When Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain died at the height of his popularity and success in April of 1994 in the apartment over the garage adjacent to his home in Seattle, Washington, few could believe it. Officially, he committed suicide by shooting himself with a shotgun after taking some heroin. Private investigator Tom Grant has been leading an investigation into solving some of the mysteries around Kurt's death and questions whether it might have actually been murder. He believes that someone was with him that day and gave him a large amount of heroin. He believes that the person then shot Kurt to make his death look like a suicide. Investigators, however, are convinced that the death was a suicide. They claimed to have found no evidence to support the homicide theory.
Kurt had problems with drugs in the years leading up to his death. On March 4, 1994, while in Rome, Kurt overdosed on sedatives and alcohol and nearly died. Three weeks later, on March 30, family and friends persuaded him to check into the Exodus Recovery Center in Marina Del Rey, California. However, just a few hours later, he left the center and took a late night flight back to Seattle. A limo driver dropped him off at his home. His daughter's male nanny saw him on the morning of April 2. The next day, his wife Courtney Love contacted Tom Grant and asked him to find Kurt. For unknown reasons, she did not mention that Kurt had been seen at their home the day before.
Grant had people watch several locations where Kurt may have been staying. When that was unsuccessful, he flew to Seattle and began searching for Kurt. At around 2AM on April 7, he and one of Kurt's friends went to his Seattle home. They searched the entire house but found no trace of him. The friend noticed that the house was very clean. Twenty hours later, Grant and the friend searched the house again. This time, they found a note for Kurt, written by the male nanny. The nanny wrote, "Kurt, I can't believe you managed to be in the house without me knowing," They searched the house again, but found no evidence that he was still there.
The next day, an electrician discovered Kurt's body in the room above the garage, known as "The Greenhouse," This was the only place that Grant and the friend never checked. According to Grant, he was never told about the room. The medical examiner later determined that Kurt had been dead for several days. According to Grant, Kurt was still found holding the shotgun that killed him. Next to him was his drug kit and an alleged suicide note. According to Grant, the detectives believed from the beginning that it was a suicide and did nothing to investigate it as a homicide.
Grant claims to have found several inconsistencies in Kurt's death. First, Kurt carried only one credit card. Courtney cancelled the card shortly after he left the rehab center. She claimed that she did this so she could track his movements after he left the center. However, the banks only recorded the dates, the amounts, and basic information about the card purchases. Surprisingly, there were purchase attempts made on April 6 and 8, even though the medical examiner determined that he died on April 5. Investigators, however, claim that the dates represented when the information was logged onto the banks' mainframe computers, not when the purchases were made. Grant notes also that the cancelled credit card has never been located.
Next, the autopsy determined that Kurt's blood contained a tranquilizer Diazepam, along with heroin. The heroin level was 1.5 milligrams per liter; some medical experts claim that this level of heroin could easily kill a non-addict. Grant claims that it would have been impossible for him to have picked up the shotgun to kill himself. Dr. Cyril Wecht claims that this level of heroin would have made it difficult, but not impossible, for him to have shot himself. The chief medical examiner who examined Kurt's body, Donald Reay, does not believe that the heroin level would have caused incapacitation. He believes that Kurt had enough tolerance to the drug that he would still be able to shoot himself.
Also, investigators found no legible fingerprints on the shotgun used to kill Kurt, the shotgun shells, and the pen used to write the suicide note. Investigators, however, noted that the fingerprints could have easily been smudged when Kurt shot himself and let go of the gun.
Finally, Grant has issues with the alleged suicide note. He believes that the note was actually a retirement letter to his fans. There were rumors that he was planning on adopting a lower profile. He had recently pulled out of the annual "Lollapalooza" tour. Grant suggests that only the last four lines of the note indicate suicide. They read: "Please keep going Courtney, for Frances, for her life which will be so much happier without me. I love you. I love you!" Curiously, these lines are written in much larger characters than the rest of the note. A handwriting expert is certain that all but the last four lines were written by Kurt. He suspects that someone else wrote those final lines. Another expert believes that the first line and the last four lines are questionable. He believes that there is evidence that another person may have written parts of the note. However, he also states that the samples are not of a high-enough quality to be certain. The Washington State Crime Lab's handwriting analyst is certain that Kurt wrote the whole note.
Tom Grant and others are convinced that someone else was responsible for the death of Kurt Cobain.
Suspects: It has long been speculated that Courtney Love, Kurt's widow, while not suspected of any wrongdoing, had not been fully forthcoming when interrogated by police regarding her husband's death.
Tom Grant believes that Kurt was killed because he wanted to make changes in his life. Grant believes that these changes would have caused others to lose great amounts of money.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the February 7, 1997 episode and has been rerun on Spike TV. This case was also featured in the Travel Channel series Hidden City.
In 2015, the docudrama Soaked in Bleach was released about his death.
Results: Unsolved. Recently, Tom Grant has claimed that he believed Courtney Love was involved in Kurt's death. However, little evidence has been found to support this theory and most have accepted that his death was a suicide.
- Kurt Cobain on Unsolved.com
- Kurt Cobain on Wikipedia
- Cobain Case Web-Site by Tom Grant
- Kurt Cobain, Hesitant Poet Of 'Grunge Rock,' Dead at 27
- Images released of Kurt Cobain's suicide note
- Kurt Cobain: Inside His Tragic 1994 Suicide
- Courtney Love 'conspired' in Kurt Cobain's death: Ex-PI