Rumors surrounding the untimely deaths of famous actors and musicians are incredibly common. This includes the death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, which is being examined in a new documentary.
“Soaked in Bleach” looks to examine the singer’s apparent suicide, and raises the possibility that there is more to the case than meets the eye. The official version of what happened is that Cobain shot himself in the head with a shotgun inside his home near Lake Washington in Seattle, on April 5, 1994. The documentary looks at various details of the apparent suicide and delves into several questions surrounding it, suggesting even that he may have been murdered by his wife, Courtney Love.
Seattle’s former police chief from 1994 to 2000, Norm Stamper, plays a central role in the upcoming documentary, and believes that the investigation into Cobain’s death should be reopened. This isn’t necessarily because he believes he was murdered, but because he feels the investigation was botched. For example, photos of the crime scene were not developed 20 years afterwards, and fingerprints lifted from the shotgun found at the scene went unmatched.
In the documentary, Stamper says “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,” said Stamper, “if we didn’t get it right the first time, we damn well better get it right the second time, and I would tell you right now if I were the Chief of Police, I would reopen this investigation.”
The film examines several of the rumors that have circulated in the past, and prominently features private investigator, Tom Grant, hired by Love to find her missing husband just days before he ended up dead after disappearing from a rehab facility. Due to contradictory statements she made to him and an apparently varying agenda, Grant started recording all their conversations, some of which appear in the documentary.
One of the most questionable pieces of evidence against Love is a paper found in her bag that she used to practice handwriting. Forensic linguist Carole Chaski has pointed out that the top portion of Cobain’s lengthy suicide note appears to be different handwriting, and is also linguistically different, from the bottom four lines.
The suicide note is addressed to the Nirvana singer’s imaginary childhood friend, “Boddah,” and is mostly about his relationship to music. Only the last four lines deal with his family. The private investigator believes that the letter reads like a note announcing that Cobain is retiring from music and leaving his wife, not like a suicide note – except for those last few lines.
Other details that suggest that it was not a suicide include the fact that there was a distinct lack of blood near the area where his body was found, in the attic above the garage. Furthermore, he was found to have triple the lethal dose of heroin in his blood, which, some have suggested, would have made him pass out and rendered him incapable of pulling the trigger.
Unlike the enthusiastic support she showed for another recent documentary on the singer, Montage of Heck, Courtney tried to stop the documentary from being released, and had her legal team issue a cease-and-desist order.
Soaked in Bleach is now available for streaming online.