Beverly Hills, CA private investigator Tom Grant, a 49-year-old grandfather of seven and seven year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department, hardly falls into the demographic of the average Nirvana fan. So it’s not surprising that when, on Easter Sunday, April 3,1994, Courtney Love hired him to track down her husband Kurt Cobain’s missing credit card, he initially thought little of the assignment. “I knew vaguely who Nirvana was.” the PI has said.
Grant was about to embark on a road of deception, intrigue and cover-ups that would lead him, nine months later, to a stunning conclusion regarding the death of Kurt Cobain, who was found dead in Seattle on April 8, 1994.
Grant’s first clues that all was not right came during his meeting with Love later that day at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills where she was staying. She told him on the phone that someone was using her husband’s credit card and she wanted to find out who it was, then, after meeting her at the hotel, she changed that immediately to, “It’s not someone else using his card, it’s him, and I’m trying to locate him.” It just kind of spread from there.
Cobain, at the time, was AWOL from the Exodus Recovery Center, a drug-rehab clinic in nearby Marina del Rey. Working on Love’s suggestion that Kurt “may have gone to Seattle.” Grant subcontracted local investigators to do surveillance on Cobain’s known haunts in Seattle. What Love neglected to tell Grant was that Michael “Cali” DeWitt, the couple’s nanny, had seen Cobain at their house on Lake Washington Boulevard on April 2, the day before she hired the PI. Given Grant’s assertion that Cobain died “late Sunday morning [April 3] or early Monday morning [April 4].” This omission may have caused a fatal “and possibly deliberate delay in his investigation.
... Kurt was non-existent. Tom Grant is a private investigator who was hired by Courtney Love on Sunday, April ... Grant to find who was using a missing credit card that was in her husbands name. On April 1 Kurt ... difficult when it regards those we admire. Kurt Cobain was one of the most powerful ... card up until hours before Kurt was found, but we now know that he was dead for two days at this point. Cobain ...
Grant arrived in Seattle at 11:30 PM on Wednesday, April 6. Dylan Carlson, a close friend of Cobain’s who from all reports was the singer’s drug buddy, took him to the house. It was raining as they searched the house at 2:15 AM on April 7. But the garage/greenhouse a stone’s throw away from the main house remained unexplored; Carlson failed to direct him to the greenhouse, later telling Grant that “it’s just a dirty little room.”
The greenhouse was a l9-foot by 23-foot room above the garage. The scene that unfolded there on the morning of April 8, when an electrician noticed a body lying on the floor at 8:30 AM, could hardly be viewed as arbitrary to the outside world. Cobain, who had a predisposition toward suicide (with pemaps one attempt already under his belt”the overdose on Rohypnol in Rome on March 4. 1994 ).
was discovered with a Remington M-11 20-gauge shotgun resting on his chest and blood exuding from his ear. A single charge had entered through the roof of his mouth and lodged in his head. A kiss-off note lay nearby. A neater example of suicide would be hard to find. It appeared that Kurt Cobain had finally put an end to his miserable, drug-plagued, multiplatinum life.
Exactly a month later, on May 8, Grant wrote a letter to Love, who he was still working for, expressing his doubts about the generally accepted suicide theory. “I’m sure you know by now that my investigation has been somewhat more active than you might have been aware of. I consider the circumstances surrounding your husband’s death to be highly suspicious I’ve decided to continue working on this case until I see its conclusion. without additional charges.
Amazingly, Love continued to employ Grant for the next seven months during which time he was given unrelated and largely insubstantial matters to look after. Grant believes she kept him on the payroll so she could keep tabs on him and periodically “pick his brain” for what he knew and didn’t know about the Kurt case.
On April 9 th the world woke up to the news of Kurt Cobain's suicide. Those who followed the grudge music of Cobain's band, Nirvana, were angry, but not surprised. With songs such as "I Hate Myself and Want to Die" and constant references to suicide and drugs, suicide was the obvious explanation for his death. Kurt put it best when he said, "I'm thought of as this pissy, complaining, freaked-out ...
Disregarding the Seattle police department’s report in the Seattle Times on May 11 that stated “there’s been no foul play–just an early death that no one could explain.” Grant reached his own dramatic conclusion eight months later. “A conspiracy resulted in the murder of Kurt Cobain.”
The scenario, according to Grant, goes like this Kurt was planning to divorce Courtney and simultaneously leave the music business. He had spoken to Rosemary Carroll, one of the couple’s attorneys about having Courtney taken out of his will. The note found with Cobain’s body, Grant asserts, was a farewell to his fans not a suicide note. “It was not addressed to Frances [his daughter] and Courtney, as the police report claims and it doesn’t say anything in there about suicide.” says Grant.
Of course, Cobain’s retirement would have resulted in untold future revenue losses. His decision not to headline the Lollapalooza ’94 tour had already cost somewhere in the vicinity of $9.5 million. And, no matter how generous the settlement, a divorce would have led to a further depletion of Courtney’s coffers, certainly amounting to less than what she stood to gain from inheriting the Cobain fortune. With that kind of money at stake, Grant contends, the situation was ripe for murder.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Kurt was hanging out up there in the greenhouse with a shotgun,” explains Grant. “That was like a little lookout tower for him over his whole property, and I do firmly believe that he was in fear of his life. He was going to be flying out of Seattle, probably within hours, certainly within the next day or two.
“So he was up there, and whoever came in there with him was probably doing drugs with him until they got him loaded. He had three times the lethal dose of heroin in his system [at the time of his death]. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean he would have died from that dose, but it certainly would’ve put him out. It’s highly unlikely that he would shoot himself up in both arms, put the needle away in his little kit and then have the mental capacity to sit there and manipulate this shotgun and shoot himself. If he wasn’t unconscious he was at least to the point where he wasn’t aware of what was going on. Anybody could have done anything with him.”
The WTO riots commonly referred to as "The Battle in Seattle" had a very big impact on Seattle. The WTO riots pretty much shutdown downtown Seattle for 5 days. Businesses lost millions of dollars from lack of people and vandalism. People all over the world watched the WTO riots from there homes on television. Many people realized that if you want something to happen bad enough you can make it ...
Grant says he contacted the Seattle police immediately after the body’s discovery; not surprisingly, he was received coolly. “There’s a body there and a shotgun and what they think is a suicide note, so it’s real easy to jump to that conclusion,” he says. “It also makes their job a lot easier. In fact. they were upset that the homicide units even had to go out there. The homicide guys told me, ‘You know, we wouldn’t even be on this thing if it wasn’t Kurt Cobain.’ The stuff they fed the press about how they investigated it as a possible homicide is total bullshit. This was never looked at as a possible homicide.”
He attributes their reluctance to investigate further to both human nature and manipulation on Love’s part. The missing persons report phoned in by Love (for which she claimed to be Cobain’s mother, Wendy O’Connor) was ambiguously worded to suggest that Cobain had purchased the shotgun after he fled the rehab center (although a receipt found at the scene confirms that he bought the shotgun before he left Seattle for Marina del Ray).
And she continually stressed to the police, the public and anyone else who would listen that her husband was suicidal.
Grant’s concern about the “copycat” suicides committed by misinformed Nirvana fans spurred him to go public with his claims on December 1, 1994, in an interview on the “The Gil Gross Show,” which is syndicated to 175 stations by CBS Radio. Love’s lawyers learned of Grant’s scheduled appearance when Gross promoted the interview on the show a few days before it took place. “They called and warned us that we better not do it,” says the show’s producer, Greg Cockrell. “They made clear there would be legal action. Gil said, ‘Go ahead, we’re doing it anyway.”
Except for requesting a tape of the show, Gross never heard back from Camp Courtney. Her lawyers, however, did succeed in gaining a public apology from “The Tom Leykis Show. a radio program syndicated by Westwood One Entertainment to 116 stations, after they ran an interview with Grant on January 5, 1995.
American Public Safety Which of these spheres should be granted more devotion, the public safety or our own individual selves? Individualism became an issue when we as people began increasingly to demand more individual freedom and started to place more value on self-chosen individual achievement over mandated national achievement. Ever since these ideas were formed into governmental ideology, as ...
Love’s attorneys also filed a complaint with the California Department of Consumer Affairs in an attempt to revoke Grant’s investigator’s license. Grant recently applied for and received a renewal of it.
“They are making an all-out effort to scare everybody away.” says Grant. “Of course, they’re blowing smoke. Anything they would do would just bring more attention to the case, and that’s exactly what they want to avoid.”
Conversely, that’s exactly what Grant is trying to encourage. Though he’s been accused of being a profit-motivated publicity-monger, Grant says his aim is true. He continues to compile information. hoping to build a strong enough argument to compel the Seattle police to reopen the case. “They need to answer a lot of questions,” he challenges. “But they won’t unless they’re under enough pressure. Until we get some acknowledgment of the facts and the details in the press–the inconsistencies, the misinformation–there’s nothing that can be done. We can’t get past first base.”
When that happens, “Additional information will be revealed that will lead the investigators down a path of discovery,” promises the PI, “and this house of cards will fall.”