Twenty-seven years after Kurt Cobain‘s death, the FBI has just publicized a previously classified file on the late Nirvana frontman. The crux of the file revolves around two letters that ask the agency to investigate whether the iconic singer was murdered, as well as a fax that was sent to the production company behind Unsolved Mysteries.
Cobain’s official cause of death is suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound on April 5th, 1994. However, over the years there have been a ton of conspiracy theories, many suggesting that the grunge legend was murdered.
As seen in the actual FBI file, the names of the senders have been redacted, but one letter from 2003 reads, in part, “I believe a great injustice may have been committed in the case of Kurt Cobain. … A California state licensed private investigator named [redacted], who was hired by his wife to try to locate him a week before his death, strongly believes foul play was involved. … Millions of fans around the world would like to see the inconsistencies surrounding his death cleared up once and for all.” The letter also cited the 1998 documentary Kurt & Courtney, which examined the circumstances surrounding Cobain’s death and his relationship with Courtney Love.
Another letter, written in 2007, partly reads, “The police who took up the case were never very serious in investigating it as a murder but from the beginning insisted on it being a suicide. This bothers me the most because his killer is still out there.” The letter added that there is “more than enough evidence to change the cause of death from suicide to murder.”
Also included are responses from the FBI, with one reading, “We appreciate your concern that Mr. Cobain may have been the victim of a homicide. However, most homicide investigations generally fall within the jurisdiction of state or local authorities. … We are unable to identify any violation of federal law within the investigative jurisdiction of the FBI.”
The file also contains a 1997 fax sent to NBC’s Unsolved Mysteries detailing conspiracies surrounding Cobain’s case, particularly private investigator and former L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy Tom Grant being “convinced that the official ruling of a suicide was a rush to judgment.” The fax further claimed that Grant “has found a number of inconsistencies, including questions about the alleged suicide note,” and that Kurt’s note was actually just “a retirement letter to Cobain’s fans.”
As it turns out, Unsolved Mysteries did air an episode on Cobain’s death in 2008. The production company’s co-founder Terry Meurer told Rolling Stone, “We reach out to the FBI for various stories and try to get information on them. We still do that — we were just talking to the FBI yesterday about a request. We’re in constant contact with them. So that was a typical communication.”
All told, the file doesn’t really shed any new light on the case. If anything, it reflects the wide belief of some of the conspiracy theories that have existed since Cobain’s death in 1994.
The fascination surrounding Cobain hasn’t waned, as evidenced by a pair of new auctions. In one, six strands of the Nirvana frontman’s hair are currently up for bid at this location, while another features images from his last-ever photo shoot being sold as NFTs.
The FBI file can be seen in its entirety here.