Office of the
P.O. BOX 32
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA
REPORT ON POST MORTEM EXAMINATION NO. 86-A-015
NAME OF THE DECEASED: HUBBARD, Lafayette R. Age: 74 yrs
PATHOLOGIST: Karl E. Kirschner, M.D.
DATE: January 25, 1986
LOCATION: Reis Chapel
WITNESSED BY: Chief Deputy Coroner Don Hines
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The body of a tall white male said to have
been in his 70’s. The body shows abundant reddish-white facial
hair and eyebrows of reddish-whitecolor. Scalp hair is long,
thinning, receding at the forehead and of greyish-white color.
Reddish-white body hair is present on the surface. Fingernails
are long, unkempt. Nail beds are of bluish-red discoloration.
Toenails are long, unkempt and there is bluish-red cyanosis
present. The back is covered by livores. There is a bandaide
affixed to the right gluteal area where 10 recent needle marks
are recognized of 5-8 cm. There are no abnormalities upon
inspection of the back. The body is without bruises or injuries
or palpable masses.
Post mortem examination was refused because of religious reasons.
The case was brought to the attention of the District Attorney’s
office, Dan Hilford, who advised immediate toxicology be
performed on body fluids.
KARL E. KIRSCHNER, M.D.
CORONER CASE INFORMATION SHEET
CROSS REFERENCE TO CORONER FILE #8936
Lafayette Ronald HUBBARD,Sr., 74 yrs., D08 March 13,1911; Star Route (O’Donovan Poad),
rural Creston, CA.
January 24, 1986. Time found – 2000 hours.
Residence, inside a motorhome described as a 1982 Blue Bird, California license 1DSP131.
Dr. Eugene Denk, M.D. G-33017, 5336 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90069; phone: 213
Long standing history of chronic pancreatitis. Recent history of Dysphrasia as of, on or
about January 16, 1986.
ATTORNEYS PRESENT AT THE REIS CHAPEL:
Mr. Earl C. Cooley
9369 Nightengale Drive
Los Angeles,CA. 90069
Mr. John G. Peterson
8530 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 407
Beverly Hills, CA. 90211
Mr. Sherman D. Lenske
Woodland West Bldg., Suite #315
6400 Canoga Ave., .
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
/s/ Don Hines, Chief Deputy Coroner
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1-25-86/0730 Hrs., Saturday
Writer received a phone call at home from Mrs. Irene Reis, representative of the Reis
Funeral Chapel, San Luis Obispo. Mrs. Reis reported that she had just received
information of a death that had occurred in rural Creston the preceding night, January 24,
1986. Mrs. Reis reported that the decedent’s physician and attorney were at the
residence. Mrs. Reis thought it was somewhat out of the ordinary because the death
reportedly had occurred Friday evening and no one was contacted until Saturday morning.
For this reason, Mrs. Reis reported the death to the Coroner’s Office. Mrs. Reis provided
writer with the names and addresses of the decedent, the physician and the attorney. A
phone number of the residence where the decedent was located was also provided, (805)
Writer telephoned the residence and spoke with Dr. Denk regarding the decedent’s medical
history. Dr. Denk reported that he had been residing at the ranch and treating the
decedent for the past two years. He described the decedent as having displayed signs of
Dysphraisia for about eight days and indicated that there was little doubt in his mind
that the terminal event was a CVA. Writer told Dr. Denk that his clinical diagnosis
seemed proper, however a Deputy Sheriff would be responding to view the death scene. This
was quite agreeable with Dr. Denk and he would be standing by awaiting the Deputy’s
Writer asked Dr. Denk if there were any family members present. He asked me to hold on
and he would put the decedent’s attorney on. That he would be able to supply that
information. Mr. Cooley answered the phone and introduced himself as the decedent’s
attorney. Mr. Cooley told writer that there were no family members present. That the
decedent’s wife was residing in Los Angeles. Mr. Cooley further reported that the
decedent and his wife had been separated for a long time, however their marriage status
was married. Writer asked Mr. Cooley if the decedent had executed a Last Will and
Testament. Mr. Cooley stated that he had the decedent’s Will in his possession: That a
Mr. Norman F. Starke, 1404 N. Catalina St., Hollywood, CA. was named as the Executor. Mr.
Cooley was advised that a Deputy Sheriff would be responding to the residence and if
possible, writer needed a copy of decedent’s Will for the records. Mr. Cooley said that
this would be done and the phone call was terminated.
Writer then telephoned the Sheriff’s Department and spoke to Deputy Donn Hugh. He was
given directions to the ranch and requested to send a Deputy to view the death scene. An
additional request was made for the Deputy to telephone the Executor named in the Will and
obtain his permission to release custody of the ranch to Mr. Cooley. Deputy Charles
Gassett was assigned to respond to the death scene and investigate.
Upon completion of this assignment, Deputy Gassett telephoned writer to report his
observations. Deputy Gassett reported that there was nothing suspicious about the scene,
but that the copy of the Last Will and Testament revealed that the Will was dated January
23, 1986, one day prior to decedent’s death. My immediate reaction to this information
was whether decedent was in sound mind at the time he signed the Will as Dr. Denk had told
me of decedent’s clinical history which supported a possible neurological problem.
At this point writer decided to reconsider the matter and instead of permitting the doctor
to certify the cause of death, writer ordered an autopsy be performed. This decision was
not based on whether or not Dr. Denk had properly diagnosed the immediate cause of death,
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but to avoid possible questions pertaining to the cause of death and whether or not the
decedent was of sound mind when he signed his Last Will and Testament, should this Will [be]
challenged in a civil court. If this should occur, the immediate cause of death would
perhaps be another question at issue, if no autopsy was performed. Writer requested
Deputy Gassett to bring a copy of the Will to Reis Chapel and writer would meet him
Writer then contacted the Reis Chapel and requested to be contacted when decedent’s body
arrived at their facility. Later that morning writer received word that the body had
arrived at the mortuary. Writer responded to the mortuary to continue the investigation.
Present at the mortuary were Attorney Sherman D. Lenske and Attorney Earl C. Cooley.
Writer explained the concern over the recent signing of the Will and that writer’s
intentions were to schedule an autopsy as a measure of prevention against any questions
regarding the immediate cause of death, in the event the Will was challenged.
At this time Mr. Lenske presented writer with a Certificate of Religious Belief as set
forth in Government Code Section SS27491.43, reading in part:
“I, LaFayette Ronald Hubbard~ declare: (1) I am a resident of the State of California and
over eighteen (18) years of age. (2) Based upon my religious beliefs, I object to any
and all post mortem anatomical dissections or other autopsy procedures being conducted on
my body. Such autopsy procedures would violate my religious convictions.
In witness whereof, I have executed this Certificate of Religious Belief this 20th day of
The document bore the signature L. Ron Hubbard, Sr. The document also contained the
following witness signatures:
l. Patrick D. Broeker, Star Route Creston, Creston, CA 93432.
2. Anne M. Broeker, Star Route Creston, Creston, CA 93432.
3. Stephen J. Pfauth, Star Route Creston, Creston, CA 93432.
Writer posed the question in request form for permission to conduct a toxicology study to
rule out the question whether or not the decedent died as a result of a lethal dosage of
medicated drugs or any other substance. Both attorneys had no problem with this process
being performed. The attorneys stated that they did not want any problem with the
Coroner’s Office dealing with the cause or manner of death, but they had an obligation to
the decedent’s bequest that his religious convictions not be violated. They asked if it
would be of any assistance if Dr. Denk responded to the mortuary to answer any medical
questions writer may have. Writer requested that he respond for that purpose.
Writer was also presented with the original Will and permitted to read the 13 page
document. After reading this document, writer telephoned the Commander of the Detective
Bureau, Lt. John Hastie, and briefed him on the circumstances of how writer became
involved in this case, the recent signature and date on the Will, the decedent’s clinical
history reported by his regular physician and the Certificate of Religious Belief. Lt.
Hastie was further informed that the body showed no signs of violence or abuse and that
permission was granted by both attorneys to conduct a toxicology study in lieu of an
autopsy. Lt. Hastie suggested that the on-call Deputy District Attorney be notified and
informed of the circumstances.
– 3 –
Writer placed a phone call to the on-call Deputy District Attorney which was Assistant
District Attorney Dan Hilford. Mr. Hilford was appraised of the circumstances. Mr.
Hilford advised that on the basis that there were no signs of violence on the body, and
that the medical history was consistent with what the doctor diagnosed for a cause of
death, to complete the toxicology process. If the toxicology was c1ear, writer should
release the body.
County Pathologist Dr. Karl E. Kirschner was called to the mortuary to perform an extern[al]
medical inspection of the decedent’s body and draw blood and urine for the purpose of
performing a toxicology study. Blood was drawn from the body, but urine was unable to be
obtained due to the bladder being evacuated. Refer to the attached medical inspection
report and attached toxicology report for additional information.
A total of 13 photographs were taken of the decedent by writer during this medical
inspection process. Fingerprints were also obtained from the decedent as well. By the
time the medical inspection was completed, Dr. Denk and Mr. David Miscovige,
representative of the Author Services in Los Angeles, arrived at the mortuary. Mr.
Miscovige had brought with him a copy of a 1982 Last Will and Testament and a Codicil to a
Last Will and Testament dated 1983. Both documents contained the signature L. Ron
Hubbard, Sr. The contents of the 1982 Will were basically the same as the most recent
Will. The 1983 Codicil appears to be an amendmentto the 1982 Will setting forth his
religious belief against an autopsy being performed on his body after death.
Writer explained to Dr. Denk what was transpiring in this investigation and why. Dr. Denk
stated that he had no objection to the performing of toxicology studies. He reported that
the only medication he had given the decedent was Vistaril and vitamin B-12. The
aforementioned attorneys requested that these tests be performed immediately because they
chose to cease further action toward proceeding with the cremation process until the
Coroner’s Office was satisfied that the decedent died of natural causes and not by some
lethal drug overdose. Dr. Denk requested to accompany writer to the Sierra Vista Hospital
Laboratory and witness the tests performed. Writer, accompanied by Dr. Denk, took the
specimen to the Sierra Vista Hospital where the toxicology studies were performed. The
results of the toxicology studies revealed no presence of any substance that would be
contributory of the decedent’s death. Dr. Denk accompanied writer back to the mortuary
and writer thanked the attorneys for their understanding and cooperation. The body was
released to their custody.
A news release was made by the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles. Following this news
release, news media generated news releases to the effect that there was some question as
to whether or not the person who expired in Creston on January 24, 1986, was really
LaFayette Ronald Hubbard, Sr. Because of this, the investigation included the process of
Writer received a phone call from Attorney John Peterson inquiring if what he heard in a
news release, that the death was still under investigation, was true. Mr. Peterson was
advised that because of the news media saying there was some question if LaFayette Ronald
Hubbard, Sr. was really the person who died in Creston, the Coroner’s Office decided to
establish positive identification through fingerprint comparison. Mr. Peterson offered to
assist in expediting this process by bringing to San Luis Obispo, a certified copy of L.
Ron Hubbard’s, Sr. latent fingerprints that he had access to. His offer was accepted.
– 4 –
At 1300 hours, Mr. Peterson, Attorney Lawrence E. Heller, Mr. Norman Starkey, the
Executor, and Mr. David Miscavige arrived at the Sheriff’s Department with the documents.
Received from Mr. Peterson were documents described as:
1. A certified copy of a latent fingerprint card from the F.B.I.
2. A United States Navy Certificate of Satisfactory Service card depicting the decedent’s
name and right index print.
3. A Special Officer identification card depicting a photo and right index fingerprint,
issued by the Office of the Chief of Police, Los Angeles.
4. A United States passport dated April 12, 1984, issued by the passport agency in
These items were presented to the I.D. Technician, Detective C. Feierabend, for
comparison. Det. Feierabend examined these documents and found them to compare to the
prints obtained from the decedent. Det. Feierabend further reported that he had confirmed
all 10 fingerprints in a telephone conversation with the office of the F.B.I. Refer to
Det. Feierabend’s supplement report for additional details of this process.
Investigation into this death revealed no signs or evidence supporting that the decedent,
L. Ron Hubbard, died as a result of suicide or foul play. This office is satisfied that
the true identity of the decedent is LaFayette Ronald Hubbard, Sr. Writer concludes that
this case is deemed not a coroner’s case, therefore jurisdiction was waived and the
Certificate of Death was certified by the attending physician, Dr. Eugene Denk G-33017.
/s/Don Hines, Chief Deputy Coroner