OLYMPIA, Wash. — A cold case investigator has found several rolls of undeveloped film from the scene of Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain’s 1994 death, but Seattle police said on Thursday they do not expect the discovery will alter a finding that he committed suicide.
The grunge rock hero died in Seattle at age 27 of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
Seattle Police Detective Michael Ciesynski in recent months began sorting through evidence from the investigation into Cobain’s death to familiarize himself with the case in anticipation of next month’s 20th anniversary of the incident and the attention it is expected to draw.
Ciesynski found three or four rolls of film in an evidence vault from the case and had them developed, said Detective Renee Witt, spokeswoman for the Seattle Police Department.
The photos may show the scene from angles previously not seen, and appear to be of better quality than some existing photos, Witt said.
News of the discovery was first reported by KIRO 7 News, a Seattle TV station. KIRO reported on its website that police had “re-investigated” the case, a statement Witt said could give the mistaken impression that the case has been reopened.
“There are no new developments, no new twists or turns in the case,” Witt said. “He came upon this film, and that’s pretty much it. It is still a suicide.”
The photos were taken by police investigating Cobain’s death, Witt said. It is not clear why they remained undeveloped for 20 years, she said, though the original investigators may have regarded them as redundant and unnecessary to develop.
Witt said the police department had released two of the photos to the public. Neither photo shows Cobain, but instead reveals items found at the scene, including a pair of sunglasses, a cigar box, a hunting-style hat and a pack of cigarettes.
Cobain rose to fame as the lead singer and songwriter of Nirvana, arguably the defining band of the grunge era that dominated rock music, and much of popular culture, for several years in the 1990s.
Nirvana broke through to mainstream pop success with the smash hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the first single from the band’s second album, “Nevermind,” released in 1991.