April 5 marked the 25th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. The body of the alternative rocker and Nirvana front-man was discovered on April 8, 1994. The Seattle Police Department ruled Cobain’s death a suicide resulting from a gunshot wound to the head. But after years of hearing speculation that Cobain may have been murdered, former Seattle Police Detective Mike Ciesynski was asked in 2014 to review the evidence. Twenty-five years later, he says his 2014 investigation reaffirms that Cobain killed himself.
Here’s what you need to know about Mike Ciesynki investigation into Kurt Cobain’s death.
1. Ciesynski Was a Seasoned Detective Who Worked on the “Chilly Willy” Serial Killer Case
Ciesynski was a 37-year veteran with the Seattle Police Department who spent 22 years with the Homicide Unit and 12 of those years investigating cold cases. Ciesynski said that in 2014 he was asked to review Cobain’s death because he was a cold case detective. “It was 20 years later and it’s a high media case,” he told KIRO TV during a sit-down interview. “There’s always these conspiracy theorists out there so I was just asked to look at the case, review it.”
Known to police as “Chilly Willy, who’d killed three Seattle women. Over one holiday, Ciesynski discovered a message from Harris on his answering machine. “Hey Mikey Mike, this is Chilly. You probably won’t pick up today because of the holidays. Well, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow, man. So have a nice holiday.”
Ciesynski said that in 2014 he was asked to review Cobain’s death because he was a cold case detective. “It was 20 years later and it’s a high media case,” he told KIRO TV during a sit-down interview. “There’s always these conspiracy theorists out there so I was just asked to look at the case, review it.”
2. Ciesynski Was the First to Analyze Undeveloped Police Film 20 Years After Cobain’s Death
Twenty years after Cobain’s death, Ciesynski discovered several rolls of undeveloped 35-millimeter film taken during the investigation. “I had to clear up some issues that made people believe there was some type of cover-up and one of those was that I had to process some film that was never processed before,“ Ciesynski told KIRO TV.
Ciesynski contends that in 1994, investigators were using Polaroid film which develops in minutes and would have only processed the other film if they were looking for something specific. “I believed, let’s get rid of this, people thinking that something else happened that did not happen, and develop the film,” he said. The film was developed and the images were released to the public but had a green cast resulting from deterioration over the years.
3. Ciesynski Analyzed the Shotgun Found With Cobain
One of the rumors circulating since Cobain’s death was that the Seattle Police Department had melted down the gun found with Cobain to cover up evidence During his investigation, Ciesynski had his photo taken with the gun to prove it still existed, and also reviewed all of the evidence involving the firearm.
There’s been conjecture that Cobain could not have held the shotgun after injecting such a large amount of heroin, however, according to Ciesynski, the grip, or “checkering” on the stock caused an abrasion on his thumb. “That was something that kind of stood out,“ he revealed.
During his investigation, Ciesynski said he discovered an April 2, 1994 receipt from Seattle Guns which coincided with the time and location where a Seattle cab driver says he dropped off a male who matching Kurt’s description. The man told the driver that he needed to go someplace to buy bullets, saying he’d recently been burglarized.
4. Ciesnyski says Cobain took a fatal Dose of Heroin
When investigators arrived on scene they discovered Cobain’s “kit” – a box with black tar heroin and various drug paraphernalia next to his body. Ciesynski theorizes that Cobain wrote his suicide note, injected himself with a lethal dose of heroin and then immediately shot himself. “The amount of heroin Cobain injected was like 10 times what normally anybody would have taken, even a heavy heroin user. I believe he gave himself a fatal dose of black tar heroin,” he said.
5. Fans Are Petitioning to Re-Open the Case
A number of fans still dispute the Seattle P.D.’s findings and have started a Change.org petition to have the case reopened. A documentary called Soaked in Bleach discusses several discrepancies in the case, which are mostly presented by Tom Grant, a private investigator who’d originally been hired by Cobain’s wife Courtney Love to look for Cobain after he’d left a rehab facility on April 1. Grant questions several aspects of the Seattle P.D.’s case including the handwriting on the suicide note, the lack of discernible fingerprints on the gun and how Cobain could have so accurately used the shotgun after injecting such a large dose of heroin.
While Love believes Cobain killed himself, Grant disagreed. “I felt it was my duty to notify my client that I was starting to dig into directions that she may not want me to be looking into,” Grant revealed in Soaked in Bleach.