‘Soaked In Bleach’ Review: The 15 Key Points That Lead To Kurt Cobain’s Murder
"I will tell you right now that if I were the chief [of police] today I would reopen this investigation."
- Norm Stamper, Chief Of Police in Seattle at the time of Kurt Cobain's death
The new docudrama 'Soaked In Bleach' made it's debut on Netflix on November 15th. Since the theatrical release in June was limited, most fans like myself never had the chance to see it until now.
As someone who has had doubts as to the conspiracy theories regarding this case over the years I had those same doubts going into this film. After watching it, however, I am now absolutely convinced that Kurt Cobain did not take his own life. He was murdered.
On Friday, April 8th, 1994, the body of Kurt Cobain was found dead at his home in Seattle, the victim of what was officially ruled a suicide by a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. Less than a week earlier Courtney Love had hired a private investigator to find her husband. That's where the 'Soaked In Bleach' story begins.
The film was written and produced by Donnie Eichar and Benjamin Statler who deserve serious credit for their contributions. 'Soaked In Bleach' is beautifully shot and arranged with the story line weaving in and out from actual phone recordings and testimonials to re-enacted scenes. Those scenes are delivered effectively by professional actors Daniel Roebuck, August Emerson, Sarah Scott (as Courtney Love) and Tyler Bryan (as Kurt Cobain).
The credibility comes from very reliable sources, among those being Tom Grant. Grant was the Seattle private investigator hired by Love on April 3, 1994. Prior to that he was an L.A. police officer with an impeccable record and reputation as both an officer and detective.
The film includes several recorded phone conversations by Grant with both Love and Rosemary Caroll, another highly credible source. Caroll was a close friend to Cobain and Love, served as their attorney and is also the godmother to their daughter Frances Bean Cobain. It's those phone conversations by Grant with Caroll that prove to be damning evidence against Love.
I urge any fan to watch this film to get the whole story but I've compiled the fifteen most compelling points made throughout:
Courtney Love did not initially hire detective Tom Grant to find her husband Kurt Cobain when she called him Easter Sunday (April 3rd) 1994. She told Grant that someone stole her credit card.
When Grant first met Love in person, however, she told him that the card was not stolen and that she believed Cobain had it. She informed him she called the credit card company to cancel the account in hopes he would come home. Grant later revealed that someone was attempting to use Cobain's missing credit card after he died, but the attempts stopped when his body was discovered.
In the middle of the conversation she began to say Cobain was suicidal, that he escaped from rehab and bought a shotgun. Grant would later find out from Cobain's best friend Dylan Carlson that Cobain, in fact, purchased the shotgun on March 30th, before he was in rehab, and it was due to a recent burglary in his home.
"Trust me, if he was suicidal I would never let him get a shotgun," said Carlson.
Grant said he was suspicious of Love from that day on as most of what she talked about centered around divorce, money, her career and the possibility that Cobain was having an affair. He heard no concern whether her husband was dead or in danger.
Love admitted to Grant that she paid people to plant a story that she overdosed, was in the hospital and having a breakdown while Cobain was missing.
Love, who admitted it to being "unethical", also stated that it would help sell copies of the upcoming album with her band Hole. She said to Grant: "People would believe me if I deny it...Then it would appear that I attempted suicide, that way there's no drugs involved and the sympathy goes to me and...selfishly it would help sell records."
Love admitted to filing a missing person's report with the Seattle police on Monday, April 4th, under the name of Cobain's mother "Wendy O'Connor".
All the media reports that followed were totally false, including the story that "Kurt has a shotgun" and "is suicidal". Love's comment to Grant: "That should get things going right?"
Grant told Love that he wanted someone from his detective squad watching Cobain's home in Seattle. Love responded by telling him that wasn't necessary as he was probably "hiding out" and won't be at the house.
She told Grant that Cobain liked to stay in fancy hotels under the names Simon Ritchie or Bill Bailey. Later Grant asked Cobain's friend Dylan if that were true and he laughed, adding that Cobain only stayed at the cheapest places.
Grant initially followed Love's lead and searched only the nicest hotels in Seattle but found nothing. He then went to smaller, cheaper hotels and motels before finally finding a motel that had a "Bill Bailey" registered there. When he told Love this information she didn't want Grant to go to the motel to find Cobain. Instead, she said she wanted to have someone there just to watch the outside of the hotel, which left Grant confused and curious. He then told her he needed to go to Cobain's home to look for him. Love's response: "No, he's not gonna be there. Cali is there. He'll tell me if Kurt shows up."
Michael "Cali" Dewitt was a live-in nanny for Frances Bean Cobain. Cali was also a long-time friend and former boyfriend of Love. Earlier in the day she said Cali was one of the best liars she ever met and didn't trust him.
It was later discovered that Cobain visited Cali and his girlfriend on in their bedroom at Cobain's Lake Washington house on Saturday, April 2nd. Kurt was seen by Cali for the last time that day. Phone records show Courtney spoke to Cali eight times on April 2nd. Courtney did not reveal Kurt was seen when she hired Tom Grant on April 3rd.
On Wednesday, April 6th, Grant spoke in person with Love in Los Angeles. He, once again, told her that he wanted to go to the Cobain home to look for Kurt. This time, however, Love thought it was a great idea. Just a day or two before she said it wasn't a good idea at all.
At that point Grant figured Love would want to go to Seattle with him but she immediately said "no", alleging she couldn't because she had business to do in L.A., a fact later refuted by Rosemary Caroll. As Grant left the room Love shouted out sarcastically, "Save the American icon Tom!"
Love eventually told Grant that he should speak with Cobain's best friend Dylan Carlson for information regarding Cobain's whereabouts. Grant did. From that point on, however, all the information from Love was no longer given directly to Grant. It was always given to Carlson first. He would then relay that information to Grant.
It was later revealed by the Rosemary Caroll that she heard Love talk to Carlson about the greenhouse (where Cobain's body was eventually discovered by the electrician). This piece of information became vital to the case since Caroll never told Grant to look in the greenhouse when they previously searched the home.
In fact, after the news of Cobain's death, Grant confronted Caroll asking why he never mentioned the greenhouse. Caroll responded by downplaying it's importance saying that it was "just a dirty little room above the garage where they stored lumber".
It would later be revealed that Carlson depended on Love for drugs and money after Cobain's death. She was paying his rent for many years and supplied money for his heroin addiction according to Max Wallace, an investigative journalist and co-author of Love and Death, the book which claims Cobain was murdered, possibly by Love.
Love eventually told the media that suicide was in Cobain's family. She claimed three of his uncles had committed suicide and referred to them as the result of the "Cobain Curse".
According to Cobain's friend Mitch Holmquist, there is no "Cobain Curse". Holmquist debunked two of the so-called suicides. He started with Cobain's great grandfather Arthur Cobain, who was a deputy sheriff in Grays Harbor, Washington back in 1938 when he died of a freak accident. His gun dislodged from the holster while sitting in a bar. After the gun hit the ground it fired a shot into Arthur, which killed him.
Holmquist then mentioned Kurt's uncle Leland Cobain, who died under similar circumstances. He was intoxicated and, as a result, fell down a staircase. He died from computations from the fall.
On Friday, March 4th, 1994, the story got out that Cobain had accidentally overdosed in Rome, Italy. He went into a drug coma due to champagne mixed with Rohypnol, the same drug found under Courtney Love's mattress the following month by Tom Grant.
Love, at the time, said it was not a suicide attempt. After Cobain's death, however, she changed her story stating that he had swallowed 60 pills that night. Dr. Oswaldo Galletta treated Cobain and "categorically denies" that Cobain had 60 pills in him and that it was not a suicide attempt.
As for the so-called stomach pain that Cobain was experiencing that Love has said led to his suicide - It was diagnosed and treated, according to Cobain himself in an MTV interview in 1993. In fact, he said it was diagnosed and treated as far back as mid to late 1992.
Along with the many so-called suicide attempts Love referred to after Cobain's death, there was also a supposed suicide note written by Cobain while he was in Rome. She told Grant that the letter was left under the pillow on her bed. Grant immediately disagreed with Love. He told her he had been to the home, turned over the pillows, even flipped over the mattress on the night of Thursday, April 7th, and there was no note. Love insisted that it was there and agreed to show the letter to Grant. She never did.
Finally, Grant asked Cobain's closest friends along with his family lawyer Rosemary Caroll if they thought Cobain was suicidal and all of them emphatically said he wasn't.
On Friday, April 8th, 1994, Kurt Cobain's body was found by the electrician. According to Grant the police had already decided it was a suicide on the very day they found the body. In fact, a patrol officer with no homicide investigative experience made the call that it was a suicide and it was never questioned.
Norm Stamper was the Chief of Police in Seattle at the time of Cobain's death. He said, "I wouldn't pretend that there aren't police officers who are cynical, and suspicious and skeptical. That was the case in the Kurt Cobain death. We should, in fact, have taken steps to study patterns involved in the behavior of key individuals. Who had a motive to see Kurt Cobain dead? If, in fact, Kurt Cobain was murdered as opposed to having committed suicide and it was possible to learn that, shame on us for not doing that. That was, in fact, our responsibility. It’s about right and wrong. It’s about honor. It’s about ethics. If we didn’t get it right the first time we damn well better get it right the second time and I will tell you right now that if I were the chief today I would reopen this investigation.”
The crime scene photos were never developed by the police because, according to them, there was no need since it was a suicide. The photos remain in possession of the Seattle P.D. to this day.
By their negligent investigation, the Seattle Police: 1. Allowed Kurt Cobain to be cremated six days after being discovered, 2. Waited 30 days to process the shotgun for fingerprints, 3. Gave Courtney Love the shotgun to have it melted down, 4. Allowed the greenhouse crime scene to be torn down and destroyed.
The police report stated that Cobain was found with the shotgun upside down and his left hand grasping the barrel in a vice-like grip. The shotgun shell, however, was found on Kurt’s left side rather than his right side. With the shotgun upside down, the exit chamber is clearly on Cobain’s right side. The police’s determination for this was that the gun was right-side up when shot, it then flipped upside down, expelling the shell to his left. Grant says this is impossible because, among other reasons, shotguns do not flip upside down when fired.
The media reports stated that Cobain barricaded himself in the greenhouse. The reports also stated that there was a stool blocking the entrance. Not true. It was simply sitting in front of the two unlocked French doors at the other side of the room. John Fisk was a paramedic for the Seattle Fire Department and was there at the scene. He said, “Someone reported that there was a stool blocking the door. That wasn’t the case. I don’t know where that came from.”
The media reports stated Cobain was unrecognizable and had to be identified by fingerprints. Fisk said, “His head was not grossly deformed or badly damaged.”
Rosemary Caroll was recorded by Tom Grant on the phone several times. She stated Love called her shortly before the death saying Cobain was leaving her and she wanted the “meanest most vicious divorce lawyer” she could find. She also wanted to know if there was a way to avoid their prenuptial agreement.
Caroll also said that Cobain had called her from Rome wanting to take Love out of his will. That call was made on Tuesday night, March 1st 1994 from Munich, Germany, just moments before going on stage for the last time. Two days later, as a result of near fatal levels of Rohypnol dissolved in champagne, Kurt was rushed to a hospital in Rome.
Caroll noted that Love never had business in LA on Wednesday, April 6th, even though that was what she told Grant. Caroll later stated that Love was, in fact, at Caroll's home in Los Angeles on the 6th of April and heard Love tell Dylan Carlson on the phone to check the greenhouse. This was two days before Kurt’s body was discovered by the electrician.
Grant was later told a different story by Carlson, who said Love never told him to look in the greenhouse. “It’s obvious that they’re lying,” said Caroll.
The toxicology reported that Cobain had 200 milligrams of heroin injected into him. That is two to three times the amount that would be considered to be lethal. Investigative reporter Max Wallace said there hasn't been a single case where someone could have that level of heroin in them and remain conscious.
Dr. Cyril, a forensic pathologist and former president of The American Academy of Forensic Science said, “I cannot think of a case in which I have had someone inject himself with a large amount of heroin and then proceed to kill himself. It just doesn’t make sense.”
When Rosemary Caroll finally saw the so-called “suicide note” she said it was forged. “That suicide note is a past speech of things that, I think, that he had written before, and of someone copying his handwriting," Caroll told Grant. "This is my theory, and it might be, and it’s a lot of it’s intuition. I think all of that weirdness with Cali being it, obviously had, living in the house for several days while there was Kurt’s corpse in the other place. I think it had to do with the suicide note.”
Caroll stated that on the night of Wednesday, April 6th, Love was at Caroll’s house in Los Angeles and left a backpack which had a sheet of paper in it. On that sheet of paper was a series of letters written out in a style nearly identical to Cobain's handwriting. “I think someone went through his notebooks, found passages that could plausibly be cobbled together to a suicide note, and traced them, or forged or something like that," said Caroll.
When Grant asked Courtney if she could give him the original suicide note so it could be analyzed and determined whether it was written by someone else than Kurt, she agreed. To this day Love hasn't given Grant that note.
Tom Grant confronted Courtney Love by phone with the theory that Dylan Carlson knew Kurt Cobain was dead before the electrician found him. She did not deny that.
Grant also addressed his suspicions about Love's involvement. He assured her that any speculation will come to an end if she simply gets the copy of the coroner’s report for everyone to see and get Cali to take a polygraph test. Courtney agreed to get him the coroner's report saying, “I’m coming to LA on the 17th and umm, I’ll bring it to you, I will give it to you from my hand to your hand, and then you can do what you want with it….You owe me a big f*#@-ing apology when this is over, by the way.” Grant’s response: “And believe me you’ll get it if I’m wrong.”
Courtney never met with Tom Grant on the 17th, and never gave him the coroner’s report. Cali never took a polygraph test.
Around Thursday, April 7th, Courtney Love told Dylan Carlson to inform Grant that she was in the hospital and got arrested. She added she wanted Grant and Carlson to go back to the house and look for the shotgun. She said it was in a hidden compartment of the bedroom closet. “She hadn’t mentioned that to us before,” said Grant.
When Grant and Dylan arrived at the Cobain home they found a note on the steps that wasn’t there the night before. It was written by Cali saying: “Kurt, I can’t believe you managed to be in this house without me noticing. You’re a f%*#-ing a#*hole for not calling Courtney and at least letting her know that you’re o.k. She’s in a lot of pain Kurt and this morning she had another accident and now she’s in the hospital again. She’s your wife, she loves you and you have a child together. Get it together to at least tell her you’re o.k. or she is going to die. It’s not fair man. Do something now.”
Grant thought the letter came off as odd and felt it was contrived, later stating that it was just another trick by Love to throw Grant off the path. It was also later stated by Grant that he believed Cobain was already dead by the night he read that letter.