Just in time for the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death and Nirvana's upcoming induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Seattle police have released some new photos from the scene of his death.
Initial reports stating that police had reopened the case of Cobain's death were incorrect. Rather, a detective on the case re-examined the case files; and in doing so, he discovered four rolls of undeveloped film shot at the suicide scene.
Now police have released two previously unreleased photos from those rolls. They do not show Cobain or the shotgun used in his death, but rather some of his belongings.
One of the photos shows a box of apparent drug paraphernalia: a spoon and what appears to be needles on the floor alongside a pair of sunglasses and a half-smoked cigarette. The other shows a closed paraphernalia box along with some money, a pack of cigarettes, and a wallet that seems to include Cobain's ID.
"There was nothing earth-shattering in any of these images," police spokeswoman Renee Witt told the Associated Press. "The detective went into the case files to refresh himself. The outcome of the case has not changed."
The Nirvana frontman's struggle with drug addiction has been well documented. In fact, he went AWOL from a Los Angeles rehab center in the days prior to his death. His body was discovered in the greenhouse of his Seattle home on April 8, 1994. Police said that he had shot himself up with a large dose of heroin before shooting himself with a 20-gauge shotgun.
A few of Cobain's friends, including R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe, noted his downward spiral and tried to help. Stipe offered to collaborate with Cobain on a musical project, although it never came to fruition. "I was trying to offer a diversion to where he was at," Stipe once told me. He later dedicated the R.E.M. song "Let Me In" to Cobain. "I wrote that to Kurt, for Kurt, and about him," he told me, prior to the release of R.E.M.'s "Monster" in 1994. "His death profoundly affected me. I couldn't ignore it much longer."
Although his death was ruled a suicide, there have been conspiracy theories in books and films that suggest Cobain, then just 27, was murdered. "They're all very interesting," said Mike Ciesynski, the detective who re-examined the case, in a post on the Seattle Police Department blotter. "I can see why people have questions [about the case], but you can always point to something and say 'what if.'"
Ciesynski is once again trying to set the record straight. "Sometimes people believe what they read some of the disinformation from some of the books, that this was a conspiracy. That's completely inaccurate," he said. "It's a suicide. This is a closed case."