First photos of Kurt Cobain's body released 20 years later

Kurt Cobain
Frank Micelotta via CBS affiliate KIRO
NEW YORK - Seattle police have released the first photos of the body of Kurt Cobain, just ahead of tomorrow's 20th anniversary of the Nirvana lead singer's suicide, which happened on April 5, 1994.

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) released two new photos of the 27-year-old grunge icon on Thursday morning, one of which shows an up-close image of his arm with a hospital ID bracelet around his wrist. The other shows a box of shotgun shells inches away from Cobain's Converse-sneaker clad foot.

The pictures come in a wave of never-before-seen photos recently released by police.

The photographs taken at the scene by responding SPD officers remained undeveloped until recently, when the department announced it had developed the film as part of a re-examination of the rock superstar's death investigation, first reported by CBS affiliate KIRO-TV.

Cobain shocked and disheartened fans when he took his own life with what officials said was a self-inflicted shotgun blast to his head. His body was found three days later by electrician Gary Smith.

"I noticed something on the floor and I thought it was a mannequin," Smith told Seattle's KIRO TV at the time. "So I looked a little closer and geez, that's a person. I looked a little closer and I could see blood and an ear and a weapon laying on his chest."

Police reported that Cobain had a lethal dose of heroin in his system before he shot himself. The syringes and the heroin kit Cobain used were kept in the Seattle police evidence unit and were part of the re-examination, and the previously undeveloped film.

Smith, the electrician, found the suspected suicide note on some planting soil in the greenhouse, the contents of which had been previously released, but the placement in the plant was new information revealed with the photos.

"I only read the bottom lines," Smith told KIRO in 1994. "(The) bottom two lines said, 'I love you, I love you' to someone."'

And despite the presence of the suicide note, fans unable to accept Cobain's fate still request that the case be reopened -- especially with the anniversary looming. An SPD spokeswoman said the department gets at least one request per week, mostly through Twitter, to reopen the investigation which remains closed for now.

Or as Detective Mike Ciesynski, who developed the previously unseen photos said, "or until the 25th anniversary comes up."