Despite taking extra time to come up with a response, and then blowing the deadline they set for themselves, the Los Angeles Police Department finally answered Leah Remini’s request for specific information about Shelly Miscavige yesterday by telling her they weren’t going to answer any of her questions.
The letter from the police department, which we have below, did offer to send Remini responses on two of her more general questions about LAPD policy on missing persons reports.
But specific information that Leah wanted in regards to her 2013 missing person report about Shelly Miscavige and how it was resolved? She’s getting nothing.
Leah’s attorney Doug Mirell filed her records request on December 12, referring the LAPD to the missing person report Leah filed on Shelly Miscavige on August 5, 2013. Three days after Leah filed her report, we broke the news about it here at the Underground Bunker on the morning of August 8. By that afternoon, however, the LAPD was leaking to other reporters that it had checked on Shelly and had closed the case as “unfounded.”
The LAPD never responded to Leah herself, who had actually made the report.
So in her December 12 letter, she made 12 specific records requests that would explain what the LAPD actually did with her report, and how they checked on Shelly’s welfare.
Michele “Shelly” Barnett grew up in Scientology and married fellow Sea Org member David Miscavige on December 30, 1982. David became Scientology’s dictatorial ruler after the death of L. Ron Hubbard in 1986, and Shelly became a top church executive in her own right. They lived at the secretive 500-acre “Int Base” near Hemet, California. But after the two were seen to argue over responsibilities at the base in the summer of 2005, Shelly vanished. The only time she’s been seen in public since then was to attend her father’s funeral in the summer of 2007 in the presence of a Scientology handler. Leah Remini had gotten to know Shelly before her 2005 disappearance, and first realized that Shelly was no longer attending public events when her husband David showed up without her at the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Leah left Scientology in July 2013, and then filed her missing person report the next month.
In her records request of December, Leah had wanted to know such specific information as which detectives had checked on Shelly and how long the process had taken. But the LAPD tells her she won’t be getting any of that information.
“I am unable to respond to your requests for answers to questions 1-12, as your request does not reasonably describe an identifiable record or records as described” by the state records law, LAPD analyst Martin Bland writes in the letter, which is signed under the name of chief Charlie Beck.
The last two requests Leah made were more general:
13. Is it consistent with the LAPD’s standard operating procedures to allow its personnel to anonymously convey the results of [a missing person report] investigation to members of the media?
14. Is it consistent with the LAPD’s standard operating procedure to never directly inform the person filing [a missing person report] of the results of the ensuing investigation?
Bland’s response was to list numerous audits and reports that the department could send to Remini which are responsive to those questions if she just pays a copying fee of $2.80.
“Of course I’m going to get them,” Leah says, but like us, she’s anticipating that the reports will be more statistical in nature and won’t shed light on how the department handled her request about Shelly.
At this point, it appears the LAPD is not going to shed any light on how it determined that Shelly Miscavige is not in any danger.
In 2013, after the news came out that Leah’s report had been closed, we spoke with LAPD Lt. Andre Dawson, who told us that two of his detectives had made contact with Shelly, and that she had told them she didn’t want to make a public statement. When we asked Dawson whether this conversation with his detectives had occurred in the presence of other church officials, he quickly responded, “That’s classified.” Since then, Lt. Dawson, who retired in 2015, has repeatedly appeared in Church of Scientology fliers as a featured speaker at its events.
From multiple lines of evidence, we are convinced that since her disappearance in 2005, Shelly Miscavige has been held at a super-secret California mountain compound operated by a Scientology subsidiary known as the Church of Spiritual Technology. CST has a strange mission — to build underground vaults where L. Ron Hubbard’s writings can be stored to survive for tens of thousands of years. CST has several vaults in California and New Mexico, and its headquarters is a compound east of Los Angeles near a place called Lake Arrowhead. In September, we released the first drone footage of that headquarters compound, and with the help of a former CST employee, got a good idea of where Shelly today lives and works.
Then, in December, we were stunned to learn that a couple who lives near the CST compound say they spotted Shelly Miscavige twice in the nearby town. Each time — in December 2015 and April 2016 — Shelly, 55, was being escorted by two younger male handlers, and she looked frail and disheveled. We’ve checked out the couple thoroughly and we’re taking their sightings seriously.
So did a member of Shelly’s family. We learned that shortly after our story appeared, a member of Shelly’s non-Scientology family called the Big Bear station of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to ask about having deputies make a welfare check on Shelly at the CST compound.
They were told that the Sheriff’s Department would require evidence that Shelly was at that location, and the department did nothing.
After we learned that, we sent a lengthy message to San Bernardino Sheriff John McMahon, giving extensive background on the situation, specific information about Shelly, and mentioning the response that a member of her family received from his department.
“That response really surprises me. There’s good evidence that for 11 years, Shelly Miscavige has been held at the CST compound, and now we have two sightings when she was allowed to make a visit to town with her handlers, and she looked very bad. This woman may be dying. I would like a response from your department about whether the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is interested in investigating the welfare of Shelly Miscavige,” we wrote.
Here’s the response we received:
Concerning the welfare of someone within the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s department, any call for service we receive will be appropriately addressed and handled accordingly.
We encourage anyone with information regarding a crime, or potential crime, to contact Sheriff’s Dispatch or their local Sheriffs station to report it so the matter can be investigated and resolved.
Adam Cervantes, Deputy Sheriff
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Dept.
Public Affairs Division
In other words, we got the big blow-off from the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, and now Leah Remini has received the same from the Los Angeles Police Department.
And in the meantime, the CEO of a multibillion-dollar international corporation that claims to be a charitable religious organization has gotten away with banishing his wife to a tiny mountain compound where, for the last eleven years, she has not been allowed to see her own family, and she now may be in an alarming state.
David Miscavige’s many years of “safe pointing” law enforcement agencies with Scientology propaganda appears to have been time well spent.
Here are the documents…
Leah’s Dec. 12 records request, with her original 2013 missing person report attached:
Chris Shelton: Five harsh lessons Scientology can teach us
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The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)
Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield