Tom Grant interview
Introduction: This interview with private investigator Tom Grant was done in May of 2000. Below is the text as it was posted on his own website back then:
Most of the questions on this page were sent to me by Rasmus Holmen of the Nirvana Club. For the sake of continuity, the questions are sometimes listed in a different sequence than what they were asked and a few questions have been reworded slightly to conceal the identity of specific individuals or to help me avoid discussing sensitive material that I'm not yet willing to discuss.
1. Are you still actively investigating the death of Kurt Cobain? If so, what is the very latest development in the case?
Yes, but other than the information given in these updates, I don't publicly discuss every detail of every development. When something happens that the public should know about, the new information is posted on the investigation website.
2. What happened to your domain, tomgrantpi.com? I heard something about your company going bankrupt.
I've never declared bankruptcy and never will.
The tomgrantpi.com site was being overcharged by my old server for excessive traffic. I couldn't afford to maintain it. The Grid.net is costing a fraction of what I used to pay.
It was necessary for me to close my Beverly Hills office due to financial difficulties caused largely by my extensive, unpaid work the Cobain case. I'm still in business though. I've moved to the Central Coast area of California where I'm slowly recovering from my losses and keeping very busy.
3. What is your opinion of the books focused on the Cobain murder theories, including Hank Harrison's book and the book "Who killed Kurt Cobain" ?
The Book "Who Killed Kurt Cobain" by Max Wallace and Ian Halperin, is a credible, well written book. I highly recommend it.
On the other hand, Hank Harrison's self-published "book" isn't worth the paper it's written on. The fact that he tried to rip off the book title used by Halperin and Wallace in order to capitalize on their successful publishing venture, says volumes about the credibility of this man.
I know Hank Harrison well. He's come to my office. I've spent a great deal of time with him on the phone. He's sent me dozens of e-mails. I've nailed him in lie after lie and I've told him in a very direct manner that I don't consider him to be a trustworthy source of information. Based on hours of one on one conversation with Hank Harrison, I'm convinced he would fully support and defend Courtney if, in doing so, he could make a buck or two or get some media attention for himself.
But Courtney doesn't want anything to do with her self-centered father and she won't allow her supporters to speak publicly about the allegations against her. That leaves Hank out of the loop with no opportunity to cash in, unless. . . he switches sides, accuses his own daughter of murder and speaks publicly about the intimate details of her extremely active sexual history. Isn't that what any loving father would do?
Now of course, some things Hank Harrison says, on rare occasion, may actually turn out to be true. Once or twice a year even his famous daughter tells the truth! But I need to warn our supporters to be very careful when dealing with Hank Harrison. For Hank and his daughter, words and stories are only meant to serve a direct need or purpose. Perception, for this father and daughter, is indeed, reality.
We need and welcome support from people who are motivated by truth. Hank Harrison cares only about himself. Hank needs to leave the allegations, accusations and charges of foul play to investigators, prosecutors and other professionals who are paid to protect the public! Then, above all else, Mr. Harrison should get some personal counseling and learn how to be a dad.
4. What is your opinion of other web sites devoted to the murder theories.
For the most part, I think they're great! But the world is full of game players and con-artists. I've noticed many of the Cobain website operators have fallen prey to pranksters, so I've included a separate page on this website to deal with some of the popular hoaxes that are associated with the Cobain case. (Please refer to the link titled "HOAXES" at the bottom of this page).
An important phase of the master plan here has been to get others active in spreading the investigation information to Cobain's fans. The more people involved and the more web sites that are up, the more support will grow for reopening the case.
That said, there have been some serious problems with a couple of web sites written by out-of-balance, presumptuous individuals who seem to want recognition as amateur investigators.
One man claims he has a video that shows Kurt's head and other parts of the body inside the greenhouse. He says the video shows there was no "puddle of blood" as mentioned in the police reports. Then this guy speculates that the lack of blood indicates Cobain was killed somewhere else and then moved into the greenhouse!
I've seen this video. It's really no more than a few frames of animated photography in which the camera angle changes a few degrees. It doesn't really show much more than the still photograph originally published in the Seattle times shortly after Cobain's death.
This is a good example of damage done to the credibility of this investigation by "amateur investigators." The fact is, the blood on the floor doesn't show because of the poor quality of the picture and the camera angle, not because it wasn't there! As mentioned in the police report, it was a "drying puddle of blood." It was not wet and shiny. It didn't show up in the "video" because the camera wasn't close enough and the angle was wrong. But I promise you, the blood was there.
Another example of damage done by someone with no background in criminology involves statements about the handwriting on the note found in the greenhouse at the Seattle residence. This person writes on his web site:
"I believe the most logical explanation for its meaning comes from Rosemary Carroll, who expressed to Tom Grant (discussed in WHO KILLED KURT COBAIN?) that she believed it was a "pastiche" of a few notes originally written by Cobain, which were traced over by the forger. The disjointed, extremely confusing content of the note, as well as the laughable attempts at forgery, confirms her theory; also consider that Carroll's former husband, Jim Carroll, is a poet, so Carroll is attuned to the subtleties of language considerably more than Tom Grant would be."
Now Rosemary Carroll did tell me she didn't believe Kurt wrote the letter, but she added that if he did, write it, she felt he may have had some help from Courtney. So, of course, all possibilities here had to be looked at closely.
A thorough examination of this letter included handwriting analysis as well as a clear understanding of the events surrounding Cobain's death. This eventually led to the conclusion that Kurt did write the entire letter himself. . . with the possible exception of the last line.
A logical discussion about some basic points here should dispel any further consideration that this entire letter was forged or "traced over."
First, a forger who was smart enough to pull this off wouldn't be stupid enough to write such a long detailed letter that says nothing about suicide! A forged letter would make it very clear that he was going to kill himself, leaving no room for speculation.
Second, a forged letter would be short, simple and to the point. He or she would want to leave behind as little handwriting evidence as possible for comparison.
Third, a forged "suicide" letter would most likely be written to his wife or daughter, not to his fans! Why would a forger add such confusion to the issue? Why would such an obviously talented and intelligent forger be so blatantly illogical?
Rosemary Carroll was simply speculating about the tracing concept. She just knew something wasn't right and she was grasping at straws. But Rosemary Carroll had no knowledge or understanding of document examination or handwriting analysis. Neither does the above writer.
Words and sentences forged by tracing over original handwriting are extremely easy to detect, especially when the handwriting is as small as that found on the Cobain letter. Ask any handwriting expert. In fact, experiment with it yourself and you'll see what I'm talking about. Get a friend's handwriting, use it to trace over and forge another note, (with your friend's permission, of course), and ask another friend to see if he or she can pick out the forgery.
I've worked with dozens of handwriting experts over the years. I can easily detect tracing. So could practically every one of you with just a few simple instructions. Think I'm wrong? All it takes is a little thought, a simple experiment, or a 2 minute phone call to any handwriting expert.
You must understand, I'd love to prove this letter was forged! A forged letter would go a long way in proving foul play in this case. But for the sake of truth and accuracy, a little knowledge, common sense and logic dispels the forgery theory.
The main body of this "retirement letter," falsely labeled by the police as a "suicide note," was indeed written by Kurt Cobain. But a careful reading of the letter along with the added knowledge of a second letter given to Courtney in which Kurt plainly stated he was leaving her and leaving Seattle, establishes the first letter was not a "suicide note." It was simply a retirement letter, (or a draft of a retirement letter), written to Kurt's fans. It was obtained by the killers and later used in the murder plot.
I've received countless letters of support from professional people including, nurses, medical doctors, police officers, psychiatrists and even district attorneys and prosecutors. While everyone's comments and opinions are welcome, challenges to conclusions I've made based on the evidence I've personally seen and handled should really come from those with expertise in the field.
When truthful, accurate evidence is misrepresented, it damages the credibility of those who are trying to deal with the real issues of this case. Unfortunately, I can't communicate with everyone who operates a Cobain investigation website and I can't control what others say or believe. I only hope those who care about this case will be cautious about publicizing misinformation fed to them by amateur investigators or pranksters.
I've always granted permission for the accurate re-publication of any of the material or information found on the Grant Company, Cobain Murder Investigation web site. This material is not copyrighted. Although I'd like readers to understand that I can't personally endorse any other website, for the most part, I'm appreciative and thankful that they're there.
5. What about demonstrations and publicity stunts? Are they a good idea?
It's not appropriate for me to get involved in demonstrations. The purpose of a demonstration is to get media attention for a particular cause. I'm afraid my personal involvement might appear unprofessional and could look like I'm just trying to bring attention to myself.
One or two people holding a sign on a street corner looks more bizarre than credible, but I do believe demonstrations can be helpful if they're highly organized, well attended, not overly hyped, and are led by someone of sound mind and good judgment.
Regarding the person on the Internet who claims to be starting a hunger strike until his "demands" are met, (including the resignation of the President and the prosecution of Courtney Love), I'm going to choose my words carefully. I know this is a sensitive subject for a small group of sincere Cobain fans, but I know of no other way to put things in proper perspective than to say some things that may sound like a personal attack against this person. That's something I've tried to avoid for quite some time, in spite of the harm he's done to the integrity of this investigation.
Just as someone with cancer needs help from those in the medical profession, I believe this man needs serious help from those in the mental health profession. I find it necessary now to address this issue because his recent statements and irrational behavior could possibly endanger others.
Let me say first that as a Christian, I believe some people are truly used by God. I also believe there are others who attempt to use God to fulfill their own needs for public attention and power. To me, being a Christian means drawing on a biblically based knowledge of God and using the wisdom he gives us to fulfill his plan for our lives. I'm always happy to share my Christian beliefs with anyone who asks or when writing about a topic where understanding my beliefs might be crucial to the clarification of a particular issue. But the investigation into Cobain's death will not succeed if it's used as a platform for religious beliefs, political goals or other such distractions. After all, there's a time and a place for everything.
Honesty is an essential ingredient of integrity. As I glanced through this man's website, I picked up on several direct contradictions. First, he claims he's going on a ". . . total fast (no foods or liquids of any kind, . . " and "I will not eat again after May 7th until all demands are fully met, even if it means my death." A few sentences later, he casually adds, ". . . I will not die of this fast, and cannot die for at least 3.5 years. "
Then, with a mind obviously clouded by delusions of grandeur, he asserts, "I want to advise world leaders . . ."
and . . .
"Those few who are listening, who recognize the leadership I am providing . . ."
and . . .
"Woe, such horrid, horrid woe, to any nation that rejects a prophet sent in the name of Jesus Christ," . . .
and . . .
"I know that I will co-lead the second greatest event in the history of the world."
All this while openly describing his life of "schizophrenia, crippling fear, addiction to sex, alcohol and benzodiazapenes, major depression and insanity."
But the part that concerns me the most is where this deeply troubled man tries to drag others into his world of delusion by asking readers to, "Leave your career and vain plans and join me in the most noble cause in history, sacrificing all for justice and truth . . ."
In recent history, such self-proclaimed "spiritual leaders" have been responsible for the loss of hundred of innocent lives. Remember Jim Jones and the suicides and murders of more than 900 of his devoted followers in Jonestown Guyana. . .
. . . or David Koresh in Wayco Texas where dozens of men, women and children put blind faith in the man who eventually led them to their deaths. . .
. . . or Heavensgate, a religious cult located in Southern California whose members committed mass suicide because their leader told them they had to die so they could be transported to another planet during the passing of a nearby comet.
As a mature, bible believing Christian, I'm praying that this man gets the psychological and medical help he needs. To the readers of his material, I must warn you to use your God given intelligence to sort through the babble and see the handwriting on the wall.
Please. . . be very, very careful where you put your trust. The last thing we need here are more young kids doing harm to themselves in order to satisfy the needs and desires of an emotionally unstable person.
The investigation into the death of Kurt Cobain should not become a debate about fringe personalities or issues unrelated to the case. Don't allow others to detract from the facts. Stay focused on the evidence of Cobain's murder and the need to get the case reopened. And most important, don't be discouraged from starting, organizing and maintaining your own Cobain investigation website. Just try to make sure your information is accurate.
6. (This question is in reference to a scene from Nick Broomfield's documentary, "Kurt and Courtney") Danny Goldberg may be an advocate of Free Speech. Even so, don't you think it was right for him to 'remove' Broomfield from the stage at the ACLU banquet? I mean you don't just do that sort of thing, even if you are a journalist.
Wrong. You do do that sort of thing, especially if you're a journalist!
This wasn't just your average once a year ACLU banquet. It was a dinner held in honor of the 1st amendment; the FREE SPEECH AMENDMENT!
One of the award givers at this banquet was Courtney Love, a person who was, and still is, notorious for suppressing free speech! Where and when would be a better place and time to exercise this most valuable right? And who, other than myself or Nick Broomfield, could better expose the facade of Danny Goldberg, the hypocrisy of the ACLU and the charade of Courtney Love?
7. In your investigation you seem to rely a lot on the information provided by Kurt's friend Dylan Carlson. Do you really think he is reliable? You said yourself that he had just injected himself with heroin prior to one of the conversations you had with him at the Lake Washington house. In "Kurt and Courtney" he also seemed to be high on some drug, making his interview very questionable.
I don't doubt that Dylan Carlson has lied, does lie and will lie when and if it suits his purposes. But whether a person is a heroin addict, a drunk, a convict or a con-artist, there is always a purpose behind each and every lie. When an investigator is trying to determine whether or not someone's telling the truth, purpose and motive play a major role.
My evaluation of Carlson's honesty while I was with him was based on logic, not trust. If he had been part of the original plan to kill his best friend, he would not be telling me (and later the press), that Kurt was NOT suicidal. He would not have said to me, "I don't know why he married her!" And, he would not have told me, in detail, about private problems between Courtney and Kurt.
If you'll carefully read the detailed account of the time I spent with Carlson, his phone calls to Courtney during our search and my attempt to interview Carlson after Courtney talked to him privately in her bedroom, you'll begin to see how Dylan Carlson was used by Courtney after the fact, not before.
8. If Courtney was indeed involved with Kurt's death, why would she hire a P.I. in the first place? Wouldn't she have realized that a P.I. would have dug deeper into the case, reaching beyond the preliminary "locate Kurt Cobain" task at hand?
I've answered this question on several radio shows and in a number of magazine interviews but it apparently hasn't been addressed adequately on the investigation website.
I'll start by saying, when Courtney hired me to find Kurt Cobain, he was missing and Courtney truly wanted him located. Note here, I said, "located."
Courtney first told me she thought Kurt might be on a plane back east to go stay with Michael Stipe. We later learned that she actually knew Kurt had flown to Seattle and had been to their Lake Washington home on Saturday morning, April 2nd. Telephone calls to and from Cali, (Michael Dewitt), indicated he was still at the house on Saturday night. That's when Courtney had a friend plant the phony story with the Associated Press claiming she had overdosed and was in the hospital.
Kurt's so-called "suicide" was supposed to occur late Saturday night. The phony OD story was part of Courtney's plan to manipulate the media with a "suicide pact" story designed to get her sympathy and attention as she took over Kurt's well established base of millions of adoring young fans.
But something unexpected happened. Kurt left the house Saturday night and was unavailable for his appointment with "suicide." When Courtney found out the hit wasn't made and Kurt didn't show up at the house on Sunday, she panicked. Then she learned, while still in Los Angeles, Kurt had purchased another airline ticket out of Seattle!
That's when I was hired, Sunday morning, April 3rd. Kurt had to be "located" soon so the plan could be carried out before he got away and the press got wind that he wanted a divorce. Of course, I was being told he was suicidal. Courtney said she just knew "He's going to kill himself."
On Monday, (April 4th), after learning Kurt had been to the Lake Washington residence on Saturday morning, (April 2nd), we sub-contracted with another P.I. firm in Seattle to begin surveillance at locations where Kurt was known to hang out. But, even though it was suggested and recommended several times, Courtney did not want to do a surveillance on the Lake Washington residence. Remember now, that was the one place Kurt had actually been seen . . . and as it turned out, it was also the place he was later found dead! It doesn't take a genius to figure out what that was all about.
After Cobain's death, I refused to talk to the press when they called my office. Courtney wanted me to do interviews with Time and Newsweek magazines. I declined. I'm sure this concerned her. Her fears were confirmed when I notified her in writing of my suspicions just 30 days later.
So I was truly hired to locate Kurt, but once he was killed, I was used and manipulated by Courtney as she continued to formulate the scheme for her inevitable "rise to fame."
9. Kurt's cousin Bev Cobain, who has been a registered nurse since 1976, wrote in her book that Kurt was a classic case of a person suffering from serious depression. With that in mind, are you still denying that he was suicidal?
Yes, I still deny he was suicidal, especially during those last few weeks. But that doesn't actually matter!
The evidence in this case points to murder. Millions of people around the world get depressed and have even felt "suicidal" at one time or another. Very few, however, actually commit suicide. Does the fact that a person might feel depressed or even suicidal give someone else the right to murder them? Of course not.
As with any investigation, all information is potentially helpful in solving a case. But an investigator has to focus mostly on what's known to be factual rather than suppositions and speculations based on hearsay and second hand information. I haven't read Beverly's book. In fact, I didn't know she'd written one. But we cannot assume that a relative knows a person better than his close friends. In fact, I have cousins who wouldn't know me if they bumped into me on the street! If your parents are from large families, you probably do too.
The relevant question here is how much contact did Beverly Cobain have with Kurt, especially during the last few weeks and days of his life? I have no doubt that Beverly is a kind, sincere, well meaning person. But most likely, what she knows about Kurt's frame of mind is what she's read in the press or what she's been told by others, not what she knew from personal contact with Kurt.
The only people who knew Kurt's frame of mind during his last days were the people around him. The only person near him who claimed he was "suicidal," was the woman he was leaving; his materialistic and ambitious wife! All stories of Kurt Cobain's "suicidal" frame of mind lead back to one originator, . . Courtney Love.
Kurt's best friend--Dylan Carlson, one of Cobain's attorneys--Rosemary Carroll, the doctor who treated him in Rome, the police officers who went to his home several weeks earlier, the doctors and patients at the rehab in Los Angeles, other musician friends who knew him and had seen him recently, the people at the airport in Los Angeles, . . everyone else, INCLUDING KURT HIMSELF, (see police report dated March 18, 1994 on page 74 of the Cobain Case Study Manual), said he was NOT suicidal!
10. What exact motive did Michael DeWitt have to want Kurt Cobain dead? He seemed to have been a friend of Kurt's.
Michael Dewitt, ("Cali"), was a former boyfriend of Courtney's and was jealous of Kurt. This is confirmed in a recorded conversation I have with Courtney. Cali and Kurt had an uneasy friendship, to say the least.
Even though Cali was a heroin addict, Courtney talked Kurt into letting him work for them as a nanny. Cali was one of Courtney's puppets. She supplied him with drugs and money.
Need I say more?
11. If Kurt's note was a retirement note, why write a note in the first place? What did you think he had planned to do; read the note to the fans in a television show or something?
Whether the Seattle letter was a "suicide note" or a "retirement letter," anyone who reads it has to agree on one extremely important detail: This note was written to Kurt's fans. There's absolutely no question about that.
So the obvious answer to this particular question comes in the form of another question: If Kurt's note was a "suicide note" why write a note to his fans instead of his wife, daughter or mother? Why would he just add a short footnote to his wife and child? And again, I have to ask the same question asked of me. "What do you think he had planned to do; read the "suicide" note to his fans on a television show or something?"
The letter found in the greenhouse makes no sense as a "suicide note." But as a "retirement letter" he may have planned on forwarding it to a magazine like Rolling Stone or having it read on MTV. We'll probably never know the answer to that one.
The most compelling evidence indicating this was a "retirement letter," not a "suicide note," is the fact that there was not just one, but actually TWO notes left by Kurt! The first letter was made public--the one to his fans explaining his decision to quit performing. The one the police labeled as a "suicide note" even though there was no mention of suicide. The second letter was the one Courtney claims to have found on the bed in the master bedroom.
The second letter was, in fact, written to Courtney. She deliberately concealed this letter from me, the police and from the media. Why conceal the second letter? BECAUSE THE SECOND LETTER CLEARLY EXPLAINED THE REAL MEANING OF THE FIRST LETTER! Kurt was quitting the music business, he wanted a divorce, he was leaving Courtney AND he was leaving Seattle. When read together, the second letter proved the first letter was not a "suicide" note!
Additional criteria used in determining this was a "retirement letter" and not a "suicide note" has been detailed in the Case Study Manual and on the investigation website at:
12. After his death, Kurt's blood revealed three times the lethal dose of heroin. Considering the massive dosage, if he self-injected this amount intravenously, his death would obviously be a suicide.
So is it your argument that someone else injected this into his body? Wouldn't this be a rather awkward way of murdering someone, especially if it was followed by staging a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head? Surely there are far easier ways to kill someone - even if it had to look like a suicide.
You're right. If he injected himself both times with the entire dosage found in his system, that would have been an obvious suicide attempt. However, with that dosage the syringe would have been found, not in a box on the floor, but still in his arm.
I've said this many times before, "If Kurt wanted to commit suicide by overdosing on a euphoric drug like heroin, why not just go to sleep and not wake up? Why would he blast himself in the head with a shotgun, even if he could? Why would he deliberately leave such a horrific image for his baby daughter to remember him by?"
It's not at all uncommon for a victim to be drugged before being shot, stabbed or even burned to death. I've heard of and seen similar cases. So have most homicide investigators. But I still haven't found even one investigator, police, private, forensic or otherwise, who has ever handled a suicide or homicide case where the heroin blood levels were this high and there was evidence that the victim was not immediately incapacitated! Isn't THAT just a little strange??
The arrows of skepticism are of great value, unless you have a habit of aiming at the wrong target.
13. You wrote: "Additional information will be revealed when this case is re-opened ... the proof will then be presented in a court of law ... " Could you disclose any examples of this alleged proof?
The next time you hear trial preparations for a specific case being discussed on your local news, call the police detectives or district attorney's office and ask them this same question. You won't get very far.
There are legitimate, strategic reasons why police don't disclose all the specifics before a case goes to trial. This also applies to the work done by private investigators. (For more on this, refer to "Cobain Case Related Hoaxes." The link is at the bottom of this page).
14. Do you believe your investigation will ever result in a murder trial, which would ultimately convict or acquit someone of the murder of Kurt Cobain?
Yes, but I said from the beginning that this was going to be a long, slow process. It won't be the first time a case came to trial after several years of investigation. For further information, click on the "Similar Cases" link at the bottom of this page.