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Re-examining Courtney Love’s Connections With The Seattle Authorities


Courtney Love


I was listening to this new interview of Buzz Osborne at Amnesia Rockfest, and once again he was asked about Montage of Heck, a movie he reviewed because he was asked to, as he pointed out. I like Buzz, he is honest and direct and in this interview, he reiterates what he had already written in his review, ‘It makes very little difference what the facts are, what matters is what people believe … and there is not much there that is the truth’.

Just like me, Buzz is big on facts and he has understood that people are not very interested by facts and much prefer to listen to their feelings and what they want to believe. This could apply to a lot of things and stories and meanwhile facts and useful information are lost, ignored… I just wonder how much we still don’t know in the investigation into Kurt Cobain’s death.

A lot of people have written about it but this article published already 16 years ago, was examining the relationship between Courtney Love and the Seattle cops and authorities, how this relationship may have compromised the murder investigation, and this is quite unbelievable.

First of all, King County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Nikolas Hartshorne, who did the autopsy of Kurt Cobain’s autopsy was an old friend of Courtney Love, and that in itself is a bit weird unless you know that Hartshorne had also promoted punk rock groups in the late 80’s. According to this same article, Dr. Hartshorne labeled the cause of death a ‘self-inflicted shotgun wound’ after examining the body for only a few minutes and was soon telling reporters, ‘I’ve never seen a more open-and-shut case of suicide’. He issued a death certificate writing the cause of death a ‘perforating gunshot wound to the head (mouth)’ and gave the permission to Courtney Love to cremate Cobain’s body only one week after it was discovered.

‘We feel confident that this was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. There’s nothing suspicious about the scene or the circumstances that bothers me,’ he declared in this 1994 Baltimore Sun article. Why was he so prompt to declare there were no suspicions at all? Aren’t the police obligated to at least wait for the toxicology report? And I am not sure how long an autopsy should last but a few minutes seems like a really hasty job to me

His friendship with Love was confirmed many times in different publications and the authors of ‘Who Killed Kurt Cobain’, Halperin and Wallace have a video of Hartshorne admitting he and Love were good friends. Isn’t it a conflict of interest? Interestingly or not, Hartshorne died on August 2002 in a base jumping accident.

But this is far from being the only connection between Courtney and the authorities. Preceding Cobain’s death in April 1994, there were a few incidents involving the couple, like the one that occurred in May 1993. Cobain allegedly overdosed on heroin and Courtney Love dialed 911. The problem is that the police report, available here, on the Smoking Gun page, contains an entire paragraph that has been blackened out, and this wasn’t done to preserve Cobain and Love’s privacy as Cobain’s name and address appear on the first and second page. When private detective Tom Grant managed to get the full report, it was revealed that the blackened out paragraph describes how Love attempted to ‘save her husband’s life’ by forcibly administering him ‘with Buprenorphine, Valium and Tylenol laced with Codeine’, because giving more drugs to a person who is overdosing is probably the right thing to do? And why wasn’t this fully investigated?

There was another incident reported in June 1993, an alleged assault performed by Cobain on Love, who accused him to have pushed, grabbed and choked her. Once again Love’s name is blackened in the document. As the document says, Kurt even got arrested and booked into King County Jail, but the ‘victim’ later testified that nothing happened and that her injury had been self-inflicted. Again, she got away with this?

There was another 911 call from Courtney on March 1994, and she claimed this time that Cobain had locked himself in a room with a gun, and had threatened to kill himself. Once again the police had a special treatment for Courtney Love, as her name is blackened and not Kurt’s name. Love admitted later to the police ‘that she never actually saw Cobain with a gun and that he never said he was going to kill himself’ and Kurt said ‘he only locked himself in a room because he wanted to get away from his wife’… She obviously lied to the police in the first place.

And there was the infamous Rome incident, often considered as a suicide attempt just a month before his death: He overdosed and was rushed to the hospital, however Tom Grant has always thought that Love had herself administered the Rohypnol and the champagne to Kurt. Tom Grant knew about a note that Kurt had allegedly written when he was in Rome, and Grant wrote that Courtney gave the note to the police who strangely returned it to Courtney in June 1994. However Sergeant Cameron told Courtney: ‘This will never do you any good, I’d get rid of this if I were you.’ And Courtney burnt the note. Why would a police officer have advised Courtney Love to destroy such an important piece?

When Kurt went missing on April 4, 1994, Courtney Love called the Seattle police falsely portrayed herself as Cobain’s mother, Wendy O’Connor, again the motivation behind such a lie was never investigated… The 911 report cites narcotics Detective Antonio Terry as a source, and according to Tom Grant Terry was Love’s good friend…. which could explain why she could get away with her impersonation of Wendy O’Connor… Strangely Detective Terry was murdered in June 1994.

When Officer Van Levandowski arrived at the crime scene, he obviously reached to the suicide conclusion very fast, saying that the suicide note was ‘apparently written by Cobain to his wife and daughter, explaining why he had killed himself’, and this before any investigation had been completed. If you are familiar with the case you may also know that a Visa card was missing from Cobain’s wallet, actually the Seattle police inspected the wallet five days after the body was discovered!!! Love had cancelled the card but the card was used at least twice after Cobain’s death. However, the SPD never made any effort to identify the person who was using the card or to find out why Love had canceled the card before Cobain’s body was found.

All these information (and you will find many more if you dig a little) are extremely worrisome and ignored by people who nevertheless dare to have an opinion about the case. As Buzz Osborne said, it makes very little difference what the facts are because people don’t pay attention and believe what they want. If Courtney had all these connections with the Seattle police, if she got away with all these things because of these connections, everything is possible, and this type of police behavior could as well be much more frequent than we ever think.


  1. WPeter Wood on June 6, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    I have been following this case from the beginning Sadly I know all of what you said and then some Concerning the ” grieving ” widow I’ve always thought whomever had used the credit card was an important piece of the puzzle So I’m totally with you

  2. Hank Harrison on June 6, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Alyson: So well written, awsome and biting, love your work
    Hank Harrison

    • Alyson on June 7, 2017 at 2:53 am

      Thanks Hank, really appreciated!

      • Elvis on March 26, 2022 at 3:33 am

        Alyson, my love is true.

    • Susan on February 9, 2021 at 11:54 am

      I have just finished reading your book Life & Death: The Assassination of Kurt Cobain. Are you planning on writing anything else on Cobain’s death?


    • Jason Geho on August 18, 2021 at 11:27 pm

      I agree Hank. Also bought a signed copy of your book Hank and you did the best job of any of them in my opinion. Always knew your daughter had something to do with Kurt’s death, even if she didn’t pull the trigger. I recommend anyone who is not decided read The Assassination Of Kurt Cobain. You will get a inside glimpse of CLs mind and how it works and what matters most to her. And now Silvas case. WOW. Sounds so familiar.

  3. Martina on June 11, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Then Hartshorne should have pictures of the autopsy with his file. Every suicide is treated like a homicide until proven different. So it must be documented. Start there, maybe then I will tell you the truth of the story, a man on the run for his very life and soul….

    • Patty on February 12, 2021 at 11:44 pm

      But did they treat the supposed “suicide” like a homicide? It doesn’t sound like it. I have my doubts about pictures with file. All sounds odd to me. A man on the run for his very life and soul? Care to elaborate?

  4. W Peter Wood on October 18, 2019 at 6:02 am

    Courtney had several interesting connections with law enforcement These guys never do “favors” for regular people Unless you’re a family member or long time friend Favors or advice like you better get rid of that only comes to a regular person If you’re an informant That’s the only time you would get the continual benefit of the doubt I would not be surprised if she was caught in a compromising situation and agreed to give various dealers up I find it strange that nobody has ever went and talked with these dealers that Kurt use to see I’m sure they would have plenty to say

    • Renee on November 17, 2019 at 4:18 pm

      probably another case of courtney’s “strategic fucking” — creating relationships that she knew she’s need to exploit later. I used to be somewhat neutral toward her…… then i started reading more. Anyone who REALLY knows this woman hates her….. biggest user, phony, star-fucker and maybe murderer. Ugh. A lot of her behaviors seem truly evil. Wish we could get a proper investigation (without all the hags “ex boyfriends/ cops, etc” involved. Perhaps someday she’ll be in jail where she belongs.

    • Charlie Elliott on March 26, 2020 at 12:46 am

      According to Tom Grant, who told me this in person, Detective Terry used CL as a snitch. Whenever she’d get mad at Kurt, she’d rat out whomever he was currently purchasing heroine from. She developed friendships with other officers through Terry. They all thought it was cool to be friends with a rockstars wife who’d help them out.

  5. Matthew Richer on November 8, 2020 at 11:30 pm

    Actually, Nick Hartshorne was not the “Chief Medical Examiner” but was not even board certified yet. He was only an apprentice medical examiner at that time. Moreover, the investigating officer in the March 18 incident actually confirmed to me that Kurt Cobain was not even inside the house when the police arrived to investigate his alleged suicide attempt. I described this all in greater detail in my book.

    • Susan on February 9, 2021 at 11:51 am

      I really need to read your book. Is it only available in PDF?

    • Kirsty Nuttall on March 19, 2021 at 4:58 am

      where can we get your book matthew

  6. G. Hunter on March 19, 2022 at 12:30 pm

    I’m watching a show on Discovery ID right now called The Wonderland Murders and Nik Hartshorne is on this. The show is based on a case from Portland in 2001. He seemed like a total hack, but he walked around like he was a rockstar ME. I’m old enough to have been around for this whole case and I’ve done a lot of research on this case. A lot of stuff just doesn’t add up. It’s a shame, it seems like the legal system just let this happen. Any other person there would have been more of a investigation. Even for a homeless bum on the street in our little podunk town there’s been more concern. Meanwhile Courtney got to spend all of Kurt’s $$$. She wouldn’t have sold 1/8 the records if she hadn’t hitched her wagon to the Cobain train. No way, it’s just the FACTS.

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