Did someone really murder Chris Cornell? Or is it simply too unbelievable that he committed suicide?
Shortly after midnight on May 18th, Detroit officers found Chris Cornell lying unconscious on a bathroom floor. Coroners ultimately ruled the singer’s death suicide by hanging. Case closed.
It wasn’t a homicide, Detroit coroners declared. But that hasn’t stopped rumors of a possible homicide cover up.
Feeding the rumor mill is a high-trafficked bit of fake news. It came from yournewswire.com, which claimed that a child pornography ring murdered both Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington. The publication claimed that both Cornell and Bennington fought against child pornography and pedophilia. Citing an unnamed ‘police source,’ professional hitmen had made their murders look like a suicide. Both had committed suicide by hanging, a mysterious similarity that validates the conspiracy theory.
Watchdog Politifact later labeled the site as a fake news outlet.
And that also goes for the parts about Chris Cornell. Further debunking the story, Detroit News reporter George Hunter said that multiple police sources dismissed foul play. The Detroit Police Department, says Hunter, stands by the suicide after triple-checking Chris Cornell’s death investigation.
In now-deleted tweets, Hunter wrote,
“At any rate, I don’t mean to be rude if I’m not answering people’s tweets; been very busy and I’ve reported everything I know about the case. That’s the way it’s extracted. Just because the picture they took doesn’t show it, that doesn’t mean they didn’t do it. Cops say they [checked] this investigation and found no foul play. They insist everything points to suicide.”
That didn’t satisfy conspiracy theorists, however. Some immediately pointed to the blood found on the graphic autopsy photos as proof of a cover-up. Others pointed to the gaps in the official police timeline between 12:15am to 12:56am, when EMT officials declared Chris Cornell dead at the scene. Finally, most questioned how and why police officers would perform a DNA swab.
Answering critics who refused to accept Chris Cornell’s suicide, Hunter added,
“I see assumptions being made based on not knowing how things are done. For instance, saying DNA is NOT extracted by swabbing, when in fact it’s a common method. I don’t know. I triple checked with homicide detectives, who say THEY triple checked and are satisfied this was a suicide.”
George Hunter’s tweets didn’t satisfy the late singer’s fans, however. Some have referenced initial communications between Detroit police officers suggesting a homicide. Those communications have yet to surface.
So, why do some fans and hardcore conspiracy theorists refuse to believe Cornell’s suicide? It may very well be that they refuse to admit that he would seemingly kill himself. The singer hadn’t shown any warning signs prior to his death.
Through a family lawyer, Cornell’s widow, Vicki Cornell, issued a statement claiming that the singer didn’t willingly commit suicide. She claims that anti-anxiety prescription medicine Ativan pushed him to end his life.
Convinced that Detroit officers handled the investigation properly, Hunter said that he will continue investigating other murders in the city.
“So unless they re-open the investigation, I’ve got to move on to the other dozens of tragedies that happen in this city. Will monitor it.”
You can read a separate statement that George Hunter issued below.
Earlier this morning, Chris Cornell’s 12-year-old daughter, Toni Cornell, performed a tribute to her father as well as his close friend, Chester Bennington. You can view the video below.
Image by (CC by-SA 4.0)