On Friday, we learned that the coroner’s investigation into Alexander Jentzsch’s death had taken an unusual turn because of some unusual responses from the people who found his unresponsive body.
We kept quiet about that until this afternoon at the request of Karen de la Carriere, Alexander’s mother, who was concerned about Scientology interference with the coroner’s investigation.
But now, after RadarOnline wrote about the situation today, we’re adding a little more detail about what we know.
Alexander Jentzsch, 27, had been staying at the home of his in-laws. LA Coroner Assistant Chief Ed Winter told Karen de la Carriere that on Monday, July 2, the in-laws had noticed Jentzsch still in bed at about 9 am when they left their house. Twelve hours later, when they returned, Jentzsch had not moved, but they did not check on him. The next morning, on July 3, when they saw that Jentzsch was still in the same position, the father-in-law checked on him and found him unresponsive.
At that point, Karen says Winter told her, the father-in-law then took a child to school and only after he returned and still found Jentzsch unresponsive did he call 9-1-1.
In addition, Karen says the coroner has complained to her that he is not getting cooperation from Jentzsch’s wife. “Ed Winter told us that Alexander’s wife is not returning his phone calls,” she says.
RadarOnline reports that Winter said the LAPD is now getting involved to investigate the death.
“Why on earth would you take a child to school first?” De la Carriere says. “They told the coroner that Alexander had been excessively drinking alcohol and over-self-medicating. If they knew that he was self-medicating, then why didn’t they do anything when he didn’t move in his bed for 24 hours?”
A toxicology report on Alexander’s condition will still take several more weeks, but on Friday Winter confirmed to me that he had concerns about the case, but he asked me not to write anything about it then. Now, he’s telling RadarOnline that the LAPD is getting involved.
The death has cast a spotlight on Scientology because of the way Alexander and his two parents were handled by the church. Alexander had joined the Sea Org — Scientology’s hardcore elite that sign billion-year contracts — at only 8 years of age. He had served in the Sea Org for 16 years.
His father is Heber Jentzsch, who has been the president of the Church of Scientology International since 1982. But in about 2004, Jentzsch had so fallen from favor by the church’s ultimate ruler, David Miscavige, he was pulled from public view. Former executives say that they saw Heber in “The Hole,” Scientology’s bizarre office-prison at the International Base, and they believe he was there from about 2004 until today. We received a report that he was released from the base long enough to attend a memorial last week for Alexander.
De La Carriere was not invited to that service because she had been excommunicated by Scientology in 2010 for speaking publicly about Heber’s treatment. (She put on a memorial service of her own on Friday.) As a result of that excommunication — in church-speak she was “declared a suppressive person” — her own son, Alexander, was forced to “disconnect” from her. She had had no contact with him during the last two years of his life, and then was prevented from seeing her son’s body before it was cremated by Alexander’s wife, who is a Scientologist.
We have made repeated attempts to get statements about Heber and Alexander Jentzsch from the church, but have received no replies.
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Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you ask nicely he’ll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, a Tumblr, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.
New readers might want to check out our primer, “What is Scientology?” Another good overview is our series from last summer, “Top 25 People Crippling Scientology.” At the top of every story, you’ll see the “Scientology” category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories.
As for hot subjects we’ve covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and was sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology’s “Mecca,” whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.
Other stories have looked at Scientology’s policy of “disconnection” that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We’ve also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there’s plenty more coming.