In a move to put to rest rumors surrounding the April 1994 death of grunge singer Kurt Cobain, Seattle police re-opened its investigation. And then they quickly closed the case—but not before releasing more than a dozen new death-scene photos from the singer's Seattle home.
New photos—a total of 15—from the site of the Nirvana frontman’s suicide have now been released by police.
The reason for the re-investigation was to develop four rolls of camera film taken by police at the time of Cobain's death that sat undeveloped in a police evidence vault for two decades.
According to Seattle police, the 35mm film photographs show the scene of Cobain's body more clearly than earlier Polaroid images taken by police after the body was discovered. Drug paraphernailia in a cigar box near the body is plainly visible in the photos.
Seattle Police Detective Mike Ciesynski told local television station KORI that police took the belated action to develop the film knowing that media and fan interest would be heightened on the 20th anniversary of the singer’s death.
“I was requested to look at the case because I’m a cold case detective, because it is 20 years later, and it’s a high media case,” Ciesynski said. “There were always these conspiracy theorists out there, and so I was asked to look at the case and review it.”
Nothing in the newly developed death-scene photos has caused authorities to change the original determination that Kurt Cobain died by his own hand on April 5, 1994. His body was found three days later.
Cobain's persistent drug addiction, clinical depression, and handwritten suicide note backed up the conclusion of suicide. Near his body was a cigar case containing drug paraphernalia. But that didn't stop conspiracy rumors.
The singer’s death at the height of his popularity has long been the source of conjecture among fans and true-crime enthusiasts that someone killed him. No evidence, however, has ever surfaced backing up the notion that Kurt Cobain was murdered.
His death, from a single shotgun blast, had been determined a suicide by the medical examiner at the time, just days after Cobain had left a rehab facility. He was also found to have taken a high-concentration heroin before he fired the shotgun.
The final determination of death? "No change, no developments, no new leads," a police spokeswoman told the Washington Post. The latest photos of the scene, in a studio above the garage of his Seattle home, should put to rest rumors other than the final determination that Kurt Cobain died at age 27 from a self-inflicted single shotgun blast.
Once police took a look at the new photos, they learned that the images depicted more clearly the scene than the earlier Polaroid photos police had taken.
And while the move to reopen a dormant case may be surprising, the outcome is not. That’s because the circumstances from the start never pointed to foul play. Thus, the cause and manner of Kurt Cobaine's death remain unchanged and perfectly clear: A shotgun death by suicide.