Why Are There So Many Rumors About What Happened On October 21st?

A recent exchange on Facebook, made me think about all the different stories I heard about Elliott Smith’s death, depicting what happened on October 21st, the day he died of two deep stab wounds in the chest.

On October 29th, someone on Facebook wrote that Chiba claimed she pulled the knife out and put it back in because the bleeding wouldn’t stop… I had never heard or read this anywhere, but this person pretends that Chiba said this to some people he talked to, and since yesterday, someone else who knew Elliott told me she had heard the same story, we get it from two different sources.

I am not going to discuss whether Chiba really did such a horrific act or not, an act which is actually very inconsistent with the results of the autopsy as re-plunging the knife in the wound would have made another wound inside the pre-exiting one. This is something which could not have escaped to the doctor who did the autopsy, Elliott had two wounds but they were clearly separated from each other, not a wound inside another one.

In any case, this is clearly very different from what Chiba told the police: she had locked herself in the bathroom, and when she came out of the bathroom, she found Elliott with a knife in his chest. She pulled the knife out of his chest and called 911… later it is said that the detectives were able to recover the knife used in the stabbing. That’s why I don’t believe a minute she put the knife back in place, according to the police report it was clearly not in Elliott’s chest when they found it, this would mean she pulled it back a second time??? This is clearly not making any sense.

But the most terrible part is that this is not, by far, the craziest story I have heard! I just want to make a list of all the rumors she has started since all these different versions seem to come from Chiba herself… I have heard them directly from her mouth when she talked during Gil Reyes’ documentary ‘Searching for Elliott Smith’, or after the screening during the Q&A. The other stories come either from someone who directly communicated with Chiba after Elliott’s death (they were exchanging emails) or from Elliott’s family (Chiba visited Portland after Elliott’s death) or from someone who knew the family… and this is quite confusing.

On October 21st, Elliott Smith and Jennifer Chiba were fighting, she claimed to have locked herself in the bathroom, and according to one of the versions I have heard, she refused to open the bathroom door even though Elliott was begging her to open it. Of course she never said this to the police, at least it doesn’t show up in the police report…. Some articles have reported that, at this point, she took a shower in the bathroom (The IndependentBlogcritics) but it’s not on the police report either… Then she said to Elliott’s family that she opened the door when she heard a thud. A thud? What thud, since according to the report, Elliott was still standing when she exited the bathroom? She also said (like in Reyes’ documentary) that she heard a horrible scream, which is very different from a thud. She also said to someone that she was on the phone in the bathroom talking to her therapist when she heard Elliott scream…. She also said something completely different to someone else I talked to, she said that she pulled the knife out because she thought it was a fake knife and thought Elliott was joking around… joking, after such a fight?

According to the report, Elliott was standing up, conscious, and gasping for breath, she pulled the knife out of his chest and saw two cuts on his chest. At this time, he walked away and she followed him to where he collapsed… In Reyes documentary, she said that Elliott was running away (from what?) and she got even afraid he would jump from the balcony… Of course, this doesn’t appear in the police report and it sounds so strange Elliott would run away at this point… and then when could she have possibly put the knife back in place? When he was still standing? After he had collapsed on the balcony? She said she saw he had two cuts at this time. Did she saw this while he was running away? With all the blood coming out of the wounds?

According to the report, she called 911 after Elliott had collapsed,… but she also said to Elliott’s family that her call for an ambulance was delayed because her cell phone wasn’t working properly, or she couldn’t find her cell phone, a very weird thing to say when we know they had a landline in the house. I also heard a rumor she was calling someone else at this moment.

It has been widely reported that she performed CPR while waiting for the ambulance (Police report) but I have always wondered how she could have performed CPR on someone who had an open wound in the heart? I asked a professional about this and he told me this wasn’t making any sense, even if she was able to put some pressure on the wounds. Imagine the scene, she should have been covered by blood when the paramedics arrived… although nothing about her appearance is noted in the police report when she was questioned by the police officers, did she have time to clean up? So did she take a shower at this time to wash away the blood?

According to the police report, once Elliott was taken to the hospital, police officers arrived and questioned her about the incident. During the questioning, she was seated at the kitchen table and noted the Post-it note…. It’s hard to imagine that she sat at her kitchen table covered by blood, and even more surprising, it is hard to even think the police officers were questioning her in the same room where blood was splattered all over… Robin Peringer, when he talked to Filter magazine in 2008, said there was blood everywhere: ‘and Robin tells the harrowing story of cleaning up the blood throughout Elliott’s house after the suicide’ (Filter 02/01/2008)… did they clean up before or after the police came?

There are so many versions of what happened this day, and so many inconsistencies for each version that my head is spinning. Continuing to write about it is the only way I have to make more people aware of all the inconsistencies about this case. The police report, that you can still read on the Smoking Gun website, is the most objective document we have, all the rest is pure speculation fed by all the stories spread by Chiba. Far from solving anything, this only aim of this post was to underline the many rumors which are floating around, and to demonstrate how uninformed we still are about something that happened 11 years ago.

Originally published on Rock NYC (November 2 2014)

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