Cobain died by suicide on April 5, 1994, in his Seattle, Wash., home. The Seattle Police Department concluded he had died from a self-inflicted shotgun wound, and a suicide note had been discovered at the house. This April marked the 27th anniversary of the musician’s death, and the FBI released a 10-page file that month. It contained two letters from individuals whose names were redacted from the files, and who believed Cobain’s death was the result of a homicide.
The first letter, dated Sept. 24, 2003, cited the 1998 book Who Killed Kurt Cobain? The Mysterious Death of an Icon, the 1998 movie Kurt & Courtney about Cobain and his wife, musician Courtney Love, and a California state licensed private investigator hired by Love who believed foul play was involved, and that Love “had something to do with it.”
The second letter, postmarked Nov. 20, 2006, pointed to so-called evidence from the lack of fingerprints found on the gun to different handwriting used in a portion of his suicide note as well as the 2001 book Love and Death: The Murder of Kurt Cobain.
The FBI sent identical responses to both parties, signed by Linda M. Trigeiro-Pabst from the executive secretariat office. “We appreciate your concern that Mr. Cobain may have been the victim of a homicide. However, most homicide investigations generally fall within the jurisdiction of state and local authorities,” the official response read. “In order for the FBI to initiate an investigation of any complaint we receive, specific facts must be present to indicate that a violation of federal law within our investigative jurisdiction has occurred. Based on the information you provided, we are unable to identify any violation of federal law within the investigative jurisdiction of the FBI. We are, therefore, unable to take any investigative action in this case.”
The FBI had identical correspondence with another person who communicated with U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno in 2000, but the details of the initial concern from the third individual was not included in the file.
Furthermore, the last pages of the file contain a fax from Jan. 30, 1997, that was sent to the FBI’s Los Angeles and D.C. offices (and several NBC executives) from Cosgrove/Meurer Productions, the company behind the documentary series Unsolved Mysteries, which aired an episode addressing the theories behind Cobain’s untimely death in February 1997. The fax indicated that Tom Grant, an L.A.-based private investigator and former L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy, believed the ruling of Cobain’s death as a suicide was “a rush to judgment” due to the “inconsistencies” in the case. Grant appears to be the same P.I. Love hired out of concern for her husband’s well-being, and was mentioned in the 2003-dated letter sent to the FBI.
CMP co-founder Terry Meurer told Rolling Stone on May 7, “We reach out to the FBI for various stories and try to get information on them. We still do that — we were just talking to the FBI yesterday about a request. We’re in constant contact with them. So that was a typical communication.”
Read the entire file from the FBI vault here.