Focus - The Kurt Cobain Murder Investigation by Tom Grant

It's time to

February 1, 2016

What's wrong with this picture?

Of course that's a rhetorical question. I'm sure everyone can see the problem there. That buggy driver won't get very far unless he puts the proverbial "horse before the cart." And neither will we!

Benjamin Statler's incredible film, "Soaked In Bleach," is now streaming on Netflix and Hulu and can be rented or purchased for download at or ordered on DVD at

Since its release, "Soaked In Bleach," has been spreading the true story of the circumstances surrounding Kurt Cobain's death at a pace never before seen. Interest in the Cobain case at the national and international level is more intense than ever - even after nearly 22 years!

While "Soaked In Bleach" continues to open the eyes of millions, it's time for us to move forward by focusing on our very simple and attainable basic goal.

With the exception of one short, recorded comment to verify a critical fact - I'm going to remove the most distracting element from the debate about the cause of Kurt Cobain's death - Courtney Love.

There is some confusion and speculation out there about exactly what we're trying to accomplish right now. So let me clarify what I mean by our "basic goal."

First, we are not asking that the Seattle authorities arrest or file criminal charges against anyone in regards to the death of Kurt Cobain.

To the contrary. In order to achieve our basic goal with Kurt Cobain's death investigation, we've set the bar very low. All we're really asking is that the Seattle authorities change their official findings from "Suicide" to "Undetermined."

No matter what your opinion is regarding how Kurt Cobain died, you'll easily see from the facts documented on this page, that the Seattle authorities did not investigate Cobain's death properly. Therefore the conclusions they reached about how Kurt Cobain died must be changed from "Suicide" to "Undetermined" until a proper investigation has been conducted by an outside agency.

Now, let's put the horse BEFORE the cart

as we focus entirely on the incompetent investigation performed by...


To keep this simple, we're just going to concentrate on a small, specific portion of the official public statements and written reports that have been released by the Seattle Police Department and the King County Medical Examiner's office.

There are many more conflicting reports and statements to draw from that I have deliberately left out for now. I want to include only the most relevant, well documented and factual contradictions involving Seattle's Kurt Cobain death investigation on this page and present them in a sequence that will portray these issues in a way that should be very clear to all. This will make it virtually impossible for skeptics to effectively refute these documented facts.

The set-up:

SPD - Missing Persons Report

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This was the police report that the media claimed was filed by Kurt's mother, Wendy O'Conner. But Courtney Love has admitted that she was the actual person who called this report into the Seattle Police Department on April 4, 1994.

Courtney Re: MP Report:

The assumptive police statement that started it all:

Headed for press conference
This photo shows the Seattle Police Department's Spokesperson, Vinette Tishi, leaving the crime scene, (greenhouse), very soon after Cobain's body was found. She accompanied Medical Examiner Dr. Donald Reay as they walked down the driveway together to where the press had congregated at the entrance to the driveway.

SPD - "Suicide note" found..."

(29 second video)
The ABC News video shown here, proves that on the morning of Apri 8, 1994, shortly after Cobain was found, SPD's Vinette Tishi, told the press, "It was obvious this man is dead from a shotgun wound to the head..." then she added, unequivocally, "Now there was a suicide note left inside the house."
SPD's Vinette Tishi, should not have mentioned anything about a "suicide note" being found - before the Seattle police and Medical Examiner's Office had more time to investigate Cobain's death. The fact is, the so-called "suicide note," as Ms. Vinette called it, was nothing more than "a note" - period. It said nothing about suicide or about Kurt's desire or plan to kill himself.

This hurried, inaccurate statement from the SPD spokesperson created the first National and International press frenzy.

"Kurt Cobain committed suicide!" the media immediately reported.

The cat was out of the bag before any real investigation had been completed.

There would be no turning back now!

The cover-up:

This is a cut from the "Unsolved Mysteries" episode regarding the death of Kurt Cobain that first aired in on C.B.S. Television in 1997.

It was the first coverage of the Cobain case by mainstream media television.

It has been replayed hundreds of times over the years on the original CBS network and later on several different cable channels.

The Cobain case segment actually tied with one other Unsolved Mysteries segment for the highest Nielsen rated show during the entire 8 year run of this popular CBS television program.

CBS Television's
"Unsolved Mysteries" - 1997

(28 Second Video)

"Our detectives actually went into this investigation on the premise that this was a homicide."

Despite what this SPD Spokesperson claimed;
have a look now at how Cobain's death investigation was really handled:

In this SPD report we see that the shotgun used in the death of Kurt Cobain was not even processed for fingerprints until May 6, 1994, nearly one month after Cobain's body was found. The report continues, "The four cards of lifted latent prints contain no legible prints."

I've commented on the "no legible prints" topic before, so for the purposes of this page, we're going to stick with the documented facts. The real issue here is that if the case was approached "on the premise that this was a homicide," as the Seattle spokesperson claimed, why wasn't the shotgun even sent out for printing until nearly one month after Cobain's body was found?

Shotgun Print Results
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So, when were the shell casings sent out for fingerprinting?

In this SPD report we see that the expended and pre-loaded shell casings were not processed for fingerprints until January 13, 1997, nearly three years after Cobain's body was found!

Again, how was it that the Seattle police detectives, "...actually went into this investigation on the premise that this was a homicide" when many of the most critical items of evidence were not even sent out for processing anywhere from ONE MONTH to THREE YEARS after Cobain's death?!

This same report, written in 1997, also claims that the pen that was allegedly used to write the so-called "suicide note" was processed for fingerprints at the same time as the shotgun - nearly one month after Cobain's body was found. We also must wonder why the pen wasn't mentioned in the same "Print Analysis" report as the report on the shotgun that had been written way back in May of 1994?!

Shell Casings - Print Results
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The rush to judgment:

CBS Television's
"Unsolved Mysteries" - 1997

(10 second video)

Here's proof from Seattle's own police reports that the first officers on the scene declared Cobain's death to be a "suicide" - within moments after finding his body!

Patrol officers aren't even trained in homicide or dead body investigations. In most large cities, like Seattle, a patrol officers duty is simply to contain the scene until a homicide unit arrives to investigate the actual cause of death. We even see this lack of training in the reports issued by the first officer on the scene.

Same Dates - SPD Report

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Regarding the note found at the scene of Kurt's death, the continuation page of this same report also states, "This is a suicide note directed to Courtney and [Frances] and signed Kurt Colbain," ("Colbain" was misspelled by police).

Same Dates - SPD Report (cont)

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If you haven't had a chance to examine the so-called "suicide" note - click HERE

Seattle police report reveals Cali's note was missing!
Report also exposes SPD bias towards suicide:

This SPD report continuation page illustrates two separate issues:

1. It clearly states that officers searched the interior of the main house and did not find the note Cali had left on the stairway. So these officers either just opened the front door, looked inside, then later entered the underlined comment on this report, OR, someone had come to the main house within the few hours between the time Dylan and I had found the note and the police were called to the scene.

2. regarding the note found at the scene of Kurt's death, this report also claims "The note was apparently written by Cobain to his wife and daughter explaining why he had killed himself."

This claim is presumptuous. Coming from Seattle police officials, it is also completely irresponsible.

Original SPD Report (cont)

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Cali's Note

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Kurt Cobain's Death Certificate was signed off as a "Suicide" before
Dr. Hartshorne had the results of the toxicology report!

The Death Certificate

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Issue #1 - The strongest evidence for murder as opposed to suicide, (Cobain's heroin [morphine] blood level of 1.52 Mgs. per liter), could not not have been known by Dr. Hartshorne before he signed off on Kurt Cobain's death certificate, labeling the cause of death as "Suicide" just one day after Cobain's body was discovered!

During a personal conversation, Dr. Cyril Wehct told me that Dr. Hartshorne may have been able discover very soon that Kurt Cobain had heroin in his blood system during the autopsy. However, Dr. Wecht continued, receiving the figure indicating the AMOUNT of that blood level, (1.52 mgs. per liter), from the crime lab within the next couple of days after Cobain's body was found, would have been impossible. In Dr. Wecht's own words, "There's just no way!" And, he told me, "You can quote me on that."

When Kristen Pfaff, the bass player for Courtney Love's band, "Hole" was found dead in the bathtub of her apartment just two months after Kurt's body was found, there were some obvious similarities.

A. Both persons found dead were in the process of leaving Courtney Love.

B. Both deaths involved lethal doses of heroin.

C. Both deaths were handled by the same Seattle authorities.

D. The same crime lab that processed the toxicology results for both deaths.
June 18, 1994 issue of the L.A. Times, written by Steve Hochman

"The body of Pfaff, 27, was found in her bathtub by a friend. ... a nearby purse contained syringes and other drug paraphernalia. ...the King County coroner [Medical Examiner] said that no cause of death had been determined, pending results of toxicology tests, which are expected in four to six weeks."

Issue #2 - The Death Certificate also indicates that Kurt's body was released to the funeral home where it was allowed to be cremated just (6) days after Kurt's body was first discovered. This essentially destroyed any possibility of a closer, more thorough examination of the most important item of evidence in this case - Kurt's body!

Dr. Hartshorne says the so-called "suicide note" is "irrelevant":

"VH1 Confidential"

(37 second video)

How can the odd details of any note found at the scene of someone's death be simply dismissed as "irrelevant"?

Dr. Hartshorne, labeled the note as a "suicide note" even though it says nothing about suicide. In fact, if you knew that Kurt was in the process of leaving his wife and seeking a divorce, that "note" could easily be interpreted as a note to his fans explaining why he was quitting the "business" of creating music. Then, he adds the footnote - if Kurt even wrote those last lines - assuring Courtney that this would be a peaceful divorce but that he didn't want to be a bad influence on his baby girl, Frances.

I could easily argue that the latter is true based on my firsthand conversations with the major players in this case. But the point I want to make clear is that no person, including Dr. Hartshorne, should have or could have automatically labeled that note as a "suicide note."

About Kurt Cobain's death, Dr. Hartshorne says here...
"This is probably one of the most classic cases of suicide run on any textbook forensic Medical Examiner":

"VH1 Confidential"

(36 second video)
Use of the words "classic" and "textbook" in Cobain's death was a deliberate deception by Dr. Hartshorne. How do we know this? You'll see soon that SPD's Detecive Ciesynski says he spoke with the Medical Examiners office about the Cobain case and they told him they didn't think they'd EVER seen an overdose with the amount of heroin that was found in Cobain's system. So no matter how this case is viewed by anyone, it cannot truly be labeled as either "classic" or "textbook."

Then Dr. Hartshorne gives a three point list explaining his logic. Let's examine these three points closely:

1. "The fact that there was a suicide note left at the scene."
Once again, there's no evidence whatsoever that the note found at the scene of Kurt's death was a "suicide" note. Dr. Hartshorne apparently believes that if he says it's a "suicide note" then it is!

2. "The weapon is still at the scene."
This statement is completely preposterous! It demonstrates that Dr. Hartshorne was either deliberatley deceptive or he had no ability, whatsoever, to apply common sense and logic to the scene of a dead body. If, as many suspect, Kurt Cobain was murdered and the scene of his death was staged to look like a suicide, of course the weapon would still be at the scene! Has there EVER been a murder that was staged to look like a suicide, using a weapon of any type, where that weapon was not left at the scene?

Think about that. How would the police ever be fooled into thinking a suicide was actually a murder if the weapon used was missing from the scene? How would a deceased person get rid of the weapon that killed him or her UNLESS he or she was murdered?

It sounded authoritative to a gullible, uncaring media, but in reality, this was a ludicrous, thoughtless statement made by Dr. Hartshorne. He must have assumed most people would just accept what he said because, after all, he was the doctor who performed the autopsy and signed Kurt's death certificate. Who would know better about Cobain's death than him?

The truth is, anyone who actually paid attention to his words would have seen through these extremely deceptive comments.

3. "The nature of the injury."
"This was a contact shotgun wound to the mouth that required the gun to be against the decedent's chest. And with this information it makes it a classic textbook example of suicide."

Without realizing it, Dr. Hartshorne just described an impossible death scenerio.

Before he did the above interview with VH1, we had already made an undercover telephone call to Dr. Hartshorne. Let's listen to what he told my undercover investigator:

Dr. Hartshorne Re: Sitting

So if Kurt allegedly shot himself while sitting on the floor, with the gun "against the decedant's [Cobain's] chest," as Dr. Hartshorne stated here, Kurt would have had to hold the shotgun while it was in an upright position with the butt of the shotgun on the floor and the barrel pointing nearly straight up.

The overall length of the shotgun was just over 45 inches in length. Now I'm about 6'2" tall. When I sit on the floor with the Remington M11 Shotgun in an upright position and the butt of the shotgun between my legs, with ANY part of that shotgun against my chest, the discharge end of the barrel is over 5" above the top of my head.

In other words, with the position described by Dr. Hartshorne, there's no way that I would have been able to get my mouth over the tip of the shotgun barrel while the shotgun was still against my chest. But Kurt was was only 5'9" tall! This would have made the effort to put the tip of the shotgun in his mouth, as described by Dr. Hartshorne, even more impossible.

It certainly sounded as if Dr. Hartshorne knew what he was talking about in the VH1 interview, IF no one paid close attention to the details and didn't know any better. But as you've read and heard here, Kurt Cobain could not have committed suicide if the shotgun had been "against his chest" while a sitting position when it was discharged - as Dr. Hartshorne clarified during our undercover interview.

Was this really a "classic..." textbook suicide?

In March of 2014, in anticipation of the 20th anniversary of Cobain's death and the impending release of "Soaked In Bleach" along with the inevitable media attention it could bring, the Seattle Police Department made a pre-emptive move by having their cold case detective, Mike Ciesynski, review the Cobain case and hold a televised press conference.

Ciesynski's "review" included a thorough examination of the original investigation as he claimed to have read and reviewed all of the police, autopsy and toxicology reports in order to reach his conclusions. Without realizing it, Detective Ciesynski exposed more of the real truth behind the 1994 investigation into Cobain's death. He also dug a much deeper hole for the Seattle authorities to now try to climb out of.

Listen closely to what Detective Ciesynki had to say here.

"I don't think they'd seen anybody with an overdose, in our county at least, that had that much of heroin in him."

Never seen that much heroin

(30 second video)
This proves that Dr. Hartshorne's previous reference to Cobain's death as
"A classic example of a textbook suicide," was absurd!

"I believe he gave himself a fatal dose of black tar heroin." Remember here, Detective Ciesynski was the person assigned to "review" the findings of the 1994 investigation into Cobain's death.

This was not an accidental misstatement on Ciesynski's part. He repeats and reiterates his opinion in a number of statements here, after what can only be described as a very thorough review of the original investigation by claiming he read and reviewed all of the police, autopsy and toxicology reports in order to reach his these conclusion.

So what did he conclude?

"Fatal Dose"

(16 second video)

"He killed himself because of the shotgun blast, but the heroin would have did the trick [killed him] also." (These are Detective Ciesynski's exact words, not my improper use of English).

There seems to be no doubt in the mind of Seattle PD spokesperson, Detective Mike Ciesynki - there was no way Kurt Cobain could have survived the high dose of heroin found in his system during the autopsy.

So for our skeptics, your debate should not be with me or our experts. Your debate should be with the Seattle Police Department and the King County Medical Examiner's office where Detective Ciesysnki got his expert information.

"Heroin Would've Did the Trick"

(5 second video)

Detective Ciesynski's final interview comments:

Final Authority

(22 second video)

SPD Will Not Release Graphic Photos.

Detective Ciesysnki talks about the decision not to release the graphic photos of Kurt Cobain taken at the scene of his death to the public.

I want to mention here that I agree with the decision not to release graphic photos to the public. However, all photos should be open for review - without releasing copies - by additional outside experts and pathologists within the privacy of the Seattle homicide investigator's offices.

"It wasn't gonna change my decision that this was a suicide..."

Did he just imply that his mind was already made up? Of course that's not a surprise here. The Seattle Police Department committed themselves to the "suicide" theory on the day Kurt's body was found.

"And actually, I'm the one who makes the decision finally, do we go forward or not."

Detective Ciesynski's final statement leaves no doubt about the authority he was given over Kurt Cobain"s death investigation.

Then Detective Ciesynski writes a conflicting police report:

Ciesynski Report - Page 1

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From the film
"Soaked in Bleach"

(20 second video)

Ciesynski Report, Pg. 1, Issue #1 -. This report lacks the common, "Date Written" insertion. However, we can easily conclude that this report was written soon after the televised interview with Detective Ciesynski, because parts of this report contradict what he had previously stated on camera.

Ciesynski Report, Pg. 1, Issue #2 - You'll notice that Detective Ciesynski writes, "I contacted and spoke with retired Detective Jim Yoshida, who was one of the original case detectives. The other original case detective, Detective Steve Kirkland, is unfortunately deceased."

But wait - there was a third "original case detective" assigned to the Cobain investigation. A simple reading of the publicly released police reports under the "Freedom Of Information Act," clearly indicates that Sgt. Donald Cameron was the lead detective on Kurt Cobain's death investigation!

So why did Detective Ciesynski fail to mention Sgt. Cameron in this report and why did he use the term, "the other detective..." (implying that there were only two), when he knew full well there was a third? Watch this short clip here from the film, "Soaked in Bleach" and you'll see that the answer is clear - Sgt. Cameron retired because he was about to be fired for corruption.

This was no accidental mistake by Detective Ciesynski. He deliberately excluded the name of the corrupt detective (the supervising Sergeant), who was was in charge of Kurt Cobain's death investigation!

Ciesynski Report, Pg. 2, Issue #1 - The first underlined sentence in this report reads: "The blood test results indicate Morphine level, 1.52 mg/L (milligrams per Liter)."

So in response to the skeptics over the years who have questioned my firm claim about the heroin [morphine] blood levels in Cobain system, you now have an official Seattle police report that verifies what I wrote nearly 22 years ago.

Ciesynski Report, Pg. 2, Issue #2 - You'll notice the next underlined sentences on page 2 of this report where it reads: "Dr. Harrufff advised that there was a large amount of morphine, (heroin), and that tolerance is extremely important when evaluating opiate levels. With tolerant individuals, very high levels can be achieved far more than a non-tolerant person."

Did you notice how Detective Ciesysnki suddenly contradicted his earlier televised statements that Kurt Cobain's heroin dosage was "Fatal" and that the Medical Examiner's office had never even seen such a high dose of heroin in an overdose in their county?

So what happened after that televised interview with Detective Ciesysnki? Was he ordered by one of his superiors to walk-back his opinion and bring it in line with the "official Seattle police version" touted publicly for the past 20+ years?

Ciesynski Report, Pg. 2, Issue #2 - "...I noticed that the Remington 20 gauge shotgun was lying on victim's chest with the receiver facing up. I also observed a spent yellow shell casing lying on a coat at the right side of the photo." (This would be on the left side of Cobain's body, but the right side of the photo Detective Ciesynski was describing.)

Ciesynski Report - Page 2

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Now here's where page #2 of this report goes beyond strange: "I was aware that for the spent casing to have landed to the victims left, the weapon would have had to been turned 180 degrees from what it was found. It appeared evident to what had happened when the weapon was fired, but I requested assistance from SPD Range Armorer Curt Wilson."

Detective Ciesysnski continues; "I showed Officer Wilson a photo of victim holding the weapon, but I did not identify the victim. Officer Wilson stated that the fired round would have ejected in the direction where it was found and the second round probably malfunctioned due to victim holding the barrel, which prevented free movement of the barrel. The weapon probably pivoted when fired, and fell to the present position. Held in this manner, the fired round would have ejected to where it was depicted in the photo."

Benjamin Statler's 2015 film, "Soaked in Bleach," does a very thorough job of refuting this outrageous claim by Detective Ciesysnki and the Seattle police range master, Officer Wilson. The film demonstrates, in more detail than I have space for here, that the possiblility of the shotgun used in the death of Kurt Cobain pivoting 180 degrees upon discharge would be virtually impossible. It was found that Kurt Cobain's left hand grip on the barrel of the shotgun was so tight and rigid, due to cadaveric spasm, that the shotgun's automatic reloading feature jammed, leaving two shells stuck and backed up in the chamber.

It is clearly demonstrated with the FX graphics used in "Soaked in Bleach" that Cobain's grip on the barrel would have prevented the shotgun from "pivoting" and coincidentally, landing in the perfect, up and down inverted position in which it was found when Cobain's body was discovered.

I highly recommend "Soaked in Bleach" to everyone interested in the Cobain case. In fact, we've discovered that this film is being received and praised by viewers who never even had an interest in Kurt Cobain or his band, "Nirvana."

Ciesynski Report - Page 3

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Ciesynski Report, Pg. 3. - Note: Here is the conclusion apparently reached by Detective Ciesynski. As heard in the video clip of Detective Ciesynski's televised interview, in reference to not releasing the crime scene photos of Kurt's face, (which I agree with), he openly admits, "It wasn't going to change my opinion."

So it's no surprise here that this report, allegedly written by Detective Ciesynski, was simply a continuation in the cover-up of an extremely botched investigation by the original detectives sent to the scene of Cobain's death.

Ciesynski Report, Pg. 4. - Note: The last two pages of Detective Ciesynski's police report on his review of Kurt Cobain's death investigation have now been made public. This appears to be the fourth page of what was a form police report. I believe these two pages were not made available at first because the general public may have misunderstood these last two pages due to some of the standard form wording.

For example; "There is probable cause to believe the SUSPECT committed the crime of CRIME." Although the wording there appears to be somewhat strange, I believe it's just part of this form and probably should be interpreted more accurately by the public as, "There is probable cause to believe the VICTIM [Kurt Cobain] committed the ACT of SUICDE."

Even though the first page of this report indicates it was submitted by Detective Ciesynski, I find it interesting that we see no signature on the line given for Detective Ciesynski to sign the report.

It was obvious that the Seattle Police Department needed to do some serious damage control after Detective Ciesynski's televised interview. Many of his publicized statements had never been acknowledged by the Seattle Police Department or the King County Medical Examiner's office during the past 20+ years since Cobain's death

Ciesynski Report - Page 4

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Ciesynski Report - Page 5

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Ciesynski Report, Pg. 5. - Note: This appears to be the fifth page of this form police report. I see nothing noteworthy here. Although it reads - "Investigation" - but the report is blank from that point on simply indicates to me that this report form can also be used for the purpose of reporting other crimes and incidents.

By Tom Grant

I have my personal opinion about how and when Kurt Cobain died, along with a short list of those who I believe were involved in causing his death. As the private investigator embedded in this case before Cobain died as well as having direct involvement for seven months following his death, no one else has witnessed the events and heard the discussions that I have witnessed and heard.

So I do have a right to my personal opinion. However, I've never asked anyone to agree with me about the cause of Cobain's death, even though on the surface, there appears to be much more evidence indicating foul play than suicide.

I'm simply asking everyone with an ounce of common sense to please review closely and with an open mind the material posted above. It proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the investigation into Cobain's death was first bungled then covered-up by the Seattle authorities.

Therefore the findings in the death of Kurt Cobain must be changed from
"Suicide" to "Undetermined."