When Elliott Smith's girlfriend claimed his family "knew the truth" that the late singer/songwriter's death in October was a suicide, she may have assumed too much.
A lawyer representing Smith's estate issued a statement on Wednesday (January 14) stating that no one should speak for Smith's family regarding his death, which continues to be investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department.
"Elliott's family has every confidence that the ongoing investigation will determine the actual circumstances of Elliott's death," the statement provided by attorney Conrad Rippy read. "Until such time as their investigation has concluded, however, and especially in light of the recently published coroner's report, neither Elliott's family nor anyone else can claim to know 'the truth' about Elliott's death, and any statement to the contrary mischaracterizes the family's position."
The statement is in response to an interview Smith's girlfriend Jennifer Chiba gave to MTV News on Friday, a day after the Smoking Gun (www.thesmokinggun.com) posted the entire coroner's report online (see "Elliott Smith's Girlfriend Insists No Involvement In Death"). The presence of cuts that appeared to be consistent with defensive wounds and the claim that Chiba had at one point "refused to speak with detectives," two occurrences that were not publicized until the report surfaced, may have presented Chiba in a new light to some.
Although she said she had not been questioned recently by police, Chiba nonetheless felt like a suspect, if only in the public's perception.
"His sister and his parents and everyone close to him knows the truth," Chiba said, "so I'm not worried about it."
The Smith family's statement closed by noting that the family will have no further comments on the investigation, and they would appreciate the public "respecting our privacy during this time of grief."
Rippy specifically represents Smith's father, who lives in Portland, Oregon; his mother, who lives in Denver; and his half-sister Ashley, a resident of Los Angeles.
Elliott Smith died October 21 from two penetrating stab wounds to the chest. A coroner's report completed December 31 could not determine whether the wounds were self-inflicted (see "Cause of Elliott Smith's Death Still Unclear, Coroner Says; No Illegal Drugs Found").
For more on Elliott Smith, check out the feature "Elliott Smith: One Of Us Is On The Moon."