Our friend Alyson Camus–the intrepid blogger for rockynycliveandrecorded.com, whose attention to the veiled circumstances surrounding the 2001 death of Elliott Smith has yielded some interesting nuggets of information–is at it again.
This weekend she was blogging furiously about fundraising efforts by Jennifer Chiba for the Los Angeles Community Walk, to be held at Media Park on Oct. 27. Chiba was Smith's live-in girlfriend and present the day a knife blade fatally pierced his heart twice. She'll be participating in the walk for the benefit of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Smith, whose song “Miss Misery” was nominated for an academy award struggled with drug addiction and depression. It was initially reported that he stabbed himself following an argument with Chiba. Weeks later however, the Los Angeles Department of Coroner ruled the mode of death (suicide or homicide) to be undetermined. The report cited Chiba's refusal to speak with police as well as possible defensive wounds on Smith's hand as the reason for their indetermination.
Shying away from the media spotlight, Chiba has granted rare interviews, speaking with Spin Magazine writer Liam Gowing (a former LA Weekly alum) as well as filmmaker Gil Reyes, whose 2009 documentary Searching for Elliott Smith was recently shown at Long Beach's Art Theater. In both interviews, Chiba maintained that Smith committed suicide. Not surprisingly, many Smith fans have looked upon her declaration with skepticism. Of course she didn't make things easier for herself when she unsuccessfully sued Smith's estate following his death claiming she was entitled to a chunk of his money.
We, who have questions of our own, have tried unsuccessfully to contact Chiba for comment before as well. The request still stands.
Whatever opinion you hold about Smith's untimely demise, dear reader, suicide is a horrible thing to experience, no matter how you slice it. We say, dig deep, and donate to the cause.