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‘Let him die’: Scientology leader David Miscavige had private eyes watching his father, say police


SEE ALSO: Jenna Miscavige Hill on her uncle spying on her father: The arrogance is astonishing
SEE ALSO: Read the police report on the spies who kept tabs on the father of Scientology’s leader

Los Angeles Times reporter Kim Christensen landed a bombshell Wednesday night with his story about a police report which shows that Scientology leader David Miscavige paid private investigators $10,000 a week for 18 months to follow his father, Ron Miscavige Sr (pictured).

We broke the news in 2012 that Ron had escaped from Scientology’s International Base after being a musician at the compound for many years. He went to Virginia to live with his son, Ron Jr, before relocating to Wisconsin.

And his son David Miscavige, Scientology’s dictatorial leader, has made sure Ron has been under surveillance to keep an eye on what he might say about Scientology.

On one of the surveillance runs in 2013, however, private investigator Dwayne S. Powell, 43, and his son Daniel, 21, were confronted by West Allis, Wisconsin police, who found that Powell had a small arsenal in his rented SUV: two rifles, four handguns, 2,000 rounds of ammunition and an illegal homemade silencer. He also had a stun gun in the car.

Facing felony charges, Powell decided to spill his guts. He told police that he was keeping tabs on Ron Sr. for Scientology. And at one point, while he was watching Ron in a Walmart parking lot, he saw Ron clutch his chest and bend over. Worried that the 79-year-old man was having a heart attack, he called in to ask what to do.

He told police David Miscavige himself eventually got on the line. “David told him that if it was Ron’s time to die, to let him die and not intervene in any way,” the police report states.

Ron had actually been fumbling with his smartphone, and wasn’t having a heart attack.

Scientology denies that Powell was working for Miscavige, but that’s a clever dodge. As Mike Rinder has explained to us in the past, Scientology PIs are hired by intermediary PI firms or attorneys who work for the church so they can say they don’t work directly for Scientology. According to Christensen, Powell told the police he was working for the church through Terry Roffler and Associates, a Florida investigations firm.

According to Christensen, Powell and son were paid to watch Ron, and it was intense: “In his July 2013 interview with police, Powell said he and a second investigator, his 21-year-old son Daniel, searched the elder Miscavige’s garbage, photographed him wherever he went and tracked him with a GPS device attached to his car and linked to an iPad that read out his location, the documents state. Police found marks on the underside of the car that they concluded were made by the magnetic GPS device, the records say.” Powell and his son were paid $10,000 a week for the detail, and Powell’s son backed up his father’s account.

“I asked Powell if he was hired as a hit man to kill Ron if the Church of Scientology ordered such action and he stated that he was not,” the report says. According to Christensen, Powell said he had the weapons for “sport shooting.”

There’s plenty of precedent for Miscavige paying huge sums to have people followed using the tax-exempt coffers of the Church of Scientology. Previously, we brought you the story of Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold, two private investigators Miscavige paid between $10 and $12 million to follow one man for 24 years, former church executive Pat Broeker. Marrick and Arnold were outed (but not by name) in the Tampa Bay Times 2009 series, “The Truth Rundown,” and after that they were used less until they were let go. They then sued for wrongful termination, and for one 24-hour period gave interviews to us and the Tampa Bay Times. We spent the day with them as they were reunited with Marty Rathbun, the former church official who had first hired them in 1988. It was very clear from talking to them that they knew they were working for Miscavige, and that money was no object as long as they kept an eye on their quarry.

As for Scientology’s denials, here’s what Marc Headley, former International Base worker, put in our comments…

I worked at the Scientology headquarters for 15 years and got many submissions and proposals approved through all sorts of Scientology International Management approvals including David Miscavige on several occasions. I can tell you without a doubt:

— The only person who could authorize Scientology PI’s watching Ron Miscavige Sr. is David Miscavige.

— The only person who could authorize spending $1.5 million on PI’s for anything would be David Miscavige.

— The only person who could authorize letting Ron die would be David Miscavige.

David Miscavige demanded seeing proposals on $300 DVD players & TVs that were being purchased for Scientology. David Miscavige had to see the carpet samples for the crew dining hall before purchasing. He insisted on seeing every single decor item for his buddy Tom Cruise’s living quarters at the base. Anyone who has ever lived and worked at the base can tell you that Dave Miscavige considers any money in Scientology to have been made by himself directly through his actions. He told us this himself on hundreds of occasions. “He was the only one who made money and he sure as hell was not going to let a bunch of SP’s spend it all.” That is a direct quote I heard in multiple meetings. David Miscavige hired the PI. David Miscavige paid the PI. David miscavige most certainly told the PI to let his dad die. If you think this is bad, wait until we hear about out all the stuff that they have not been so clumsy about letting accidentally leak out…

UPDATE: We’ve obtained a copy of the court file on Dwayne Powell’s weapons charge regarding his illegal silencer. As the LA Times story indicates, Powell was found with weapons and the silencer when the police responded to a neighborhood complaint about his surveillance work. He was facing a felony, but after cooperating with police and talking about working for Miscavige, his indictment was dropped and he was allowed to enter a pre-trial diversion program. Here’s the relevant court paperwork on that. Scroll to the end for the indictment itself…


Dwayne Powell Docket

According to the indictment, Powell had constructed a homemade silencer to be fitted on a GSG 522 .22LR rifle. There are several different configurations of that model, apparently, but here’s one as pictured by the manufacturer…


As for the background on Scientology’s spy, in the indictment Dwayne Scott Powell is listed as 43 years old and from Leesburg, Florida. In 2006, 35-year-old Dwayne Scott Powell of Leesburg, Florida was a state corrections officer who was arrested and charged after he found his ex-wife in a bedroom with another man. He allegedly attacked his ex-wife by grabbing her by the throat and throwing her, and he chased the man with a kitchen knife, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Circa 1979: Ron Miscavige Sr. officiates as he marries Al Bornstein and Becky Finley in Philadelphia. Al had been first mate on the yacht Apollo with Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard several years earlier. Today, she’s Kate Bornstein, well known New York transgendered performance artist and subject of a cover story we wrote for the Village Voice. Becky — now Becky Kelsey — is still a dedicated Sea Org member at Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida.



Posted by Tony Ortega on April 08, 2015 at 22:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA 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

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
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


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  • consigli3r3

    It looks like police agencies that may have lent a hand to this little dictator are beginning to distance themselves from the little gnome.

    • Todd Tomorrow

      Most of those hires dicks are in Clearwater or LA.

  • Todd Tomorrow

    I wonder why they needed such such a huge amount of fire power? Usually, their MO is setting up strange suicides. I know Ron Sr., is in good shape but it sounds like they were ready for their own Ruby Ridge. Wouldn’t issuing a statement to not call for help a form of attempted murder or conspiracy to commit murder? It really show the depths that this psycho will go to get people out of his way. I’ve never heard Ron Sr., say a goddamn thing. How many bodies have gone by the way of murder for hire? If anything this needs to be all over the media. Especially at this point!

  • Tory Christman

    I have watched and seen and experienced first hand David Miscavige being a cold hearted, abusive, twisted, phony, fraudulent JACK ASS. He has slipped by due to the label of “religion” and Judges deciding: “You chose that”.

    Really? REALLY? No—I do not know *any* Scientologist who chose David Miscavige’s abuse.
    Many stayed, hoping to “fix” what was already broken. Some are still there, no doubt for that reason. IF you are “in” and hoping for this, or listening to this mad man justify these actions, PLEASE WTFU.
    Tom Cruise? John Travolta? YOU BOTH ARE *THE* FACES OF $CIENTOLOGY. AT THE LEAST, watch
    the latest documentary, “Going Clear, Scientology & The Prison of Belief” and start getting up to speed with what you are *actually* the faces for.

    To anyone still “in”, Please take the time to at least connect the dots. Find out “Why DID ALL these top Scientologists leave”. It is NOT because of “Entheta” (a word used in Scientology to stop people from reading
    or hearing ANYTHING bad…FACTS they do not want known… about their “church”, or life in general).

    For years I have said “Tick Tock, tick tock, Time IS on **our** side!”
    This started, for any new people, before Anonymous arrived in 2008. Anonymous using the name “Channology” (Google it if you don’t know it), with the volume of people picketing
    and making videos about Scientology cracked open the “Scientology-Truman show” and suddenly after
    TONS of people went public, media began doing stories on the darker sides of Scientology, etc.
    However, before their arrival…there were a few of us on-line with our full names, and $cientology was picking the shit out of us.

    So I started posting that. Back then maybe ONE person would leave (publicly) in a year.
    BUT—-I KNEW it is like a snow ball. So I began posting on-line to OSA and “dave” my Tick Tock.
    My view then, and still is: The more people who leave, the more will speak out. The more people
    who speak out, the more people who will wake up and leave: HENCE: TICK TOCK!!

    I cannot thank Tony enough for ALL that he has done to shine the light on this insidious organization/business pretending to be a “non-profit religion”, and ALL here at the Bunker, too, and every.single.person who has ever stood UP and spoken out. I thank you ALL. It is FINALLY HAPPENING. As Warrior (Mark Plummer) posted for years: “Sunshine Disinfects”.

    If you’re “in”: BAIL WHILE U STILL CAN! I AM NOT KIDDING. There is no disgrace in leaving TODAY.
    We shall welcome each one of you. Well, I will…and I know many others who will, too. We are a “user friendly” place, for the most part. πŸ™‚

    Happy Thursday before 2:00, “dave” πŸ™‚ OSA ops? Ya sure you still want to keep doing this? Don’t think this is
    the end of things. To Jenna: Much, Much love for ALL you have had to go through.
    GROUP HUG πŸ™‚ Tory/Magoo~~Your LA local, friendly SP!

    • Sergeant Pepper

      Thanks to you too Tory, and of course, so many others. It is gratifying to see the rising public awareness of these horrible things we have known about for so long.

      • Tory Christman

        ^ ^ AMEN! What a long road it’s been …and such a joy to begin to see a true light
        towards the end of this tunnel. πŸ™‚

        • Mockingbird

          That light is an oncoming train for DM at full speed !!!

          • Tory Christman

            Sooooooooooooo true, Mockingbird πŸ™‚ Great description!

            • Mockingbird

              Thanks Tory , I hope things keep getting better for you , all of Scientology’s victims , exes and critics and all of the Sea Org members , staff and public can learn the truth about Ron Hubbard and his cult .

    • BroadwayDutchessDarling

      Tory, your videos helped me keep two dear friends from being seduced by the artsy bait of the “cherch”. Your warm, animated, humorous approach to disseminate truth about the “cheese trap” of the cult and the abuses that occurs once “fresh meat” is trapped made these folks understand and run the opposite direction. One is now a professional dancer in Paris, the other an amazing chef. Thank you also for being a willing supporter of those exiting the “cherch”. I would imagine your compassion and laughter helps along way in their healing. You rock!

      • Tory Christman

        Thank you very much, BDD πŸ™‚ I appreciate your thoughts on this, and will keep them in mind.
        These are great days for ALL of us, and it’s only going to get better. <3

    • Douglas D. Douglas

      Found an amazing quote by John Dryden: “Beware the fury of a patient man.” Patience has paid off, and the fury that will follow is poised to sweep through the CoS like a tornado through a trailer park.

      As she says: Get. Out. Now.

      • Jane

        This thing is far more widespread than many realise because it has networked with other groups, as well as infiltrating ‘ordinary’ society via life coaches and training. So the scientology ethics have been taught to people who would never consider themselves scientologists. They include police in the UK. I am very furious but I am also VERY patient! As Tory says, Tick Tock!

    • Jane

      Tory, thank YOU so much for being such an inspiration. When our problems began in 2007 you were the first glimmer of light. Your fantastic youtube vids gave us insights into the fair game we were experiencing and what the mindset of the people was who were driving it. When life became crazy we realised fairly early on that it was a cult-like group, and by some miracle we came across your channel. You helped lead us into understanding who it was when there was nothing else.

      • Tory Christman

        Thank you, Jane….it’s been a privilage to help spread some light re this very, very dark
        organization. A few key people helped me (Andreas of course, Bob, Stacy, Jesse and Mark Bunker when I first escaped out…and many others after). Tony did my first interview, and Jesse Prince has been key for me, doing just what you speak of). We roll on…and OH BOY are things rolling *now*. πŸ™‚

  • thetastic

    Jeff, we all need to see what Dewey Fuckem and Howe have to say about this one!

  • Tory Christman

    As far as “Scientology NEVER did this, that’s not true” here is what I have to say:

    The Today Show Rolls on, again. Thank you to them and each and every person who helps expose this phony, abusive business pretending to be a “religion”. Religion? Really? Here is the Head of $cientology and what he did about his Father.

    Note: Scientology *always* says “We did not do it”. When they had me open up their phony internet accounts, (telling me “We are handling the evil critics trying to destroy Scientology”—so I did it)…we HAD to use:
    1) “Money orders so it cannot be traced to Scientology”.
    2) ” If you call, use a phone card so there is NO Phone records back to Scientology”.
    3) Phony names when we called each other.

    They will always lie and say it was not them. Bill Yaude told me when I SAW what they were doing (spamming ARS), and I asked ‘How?” As I knew they knew nothing about Computers. His answer? “We hire computer geeks, and THEY do it”.

    I’ll testify in court to what I just said. “dave”?
    You can RUN….but you CANNOT HIDE!” Tory/Magoo~~Your LA Local, friendly SP!

    • Tory, here’s the link to the OSA 101 Training Course you wrote
      Tory and i picketed the HGB in CW in 2000? I would use a paper horn and yell
      “No OTs There, if there were just ONE OT in $cientology, you would not be hearing my voice.”
      And sometimes “No OTs THERE, just a dwarf”

  • First Last

    Tony can you create a link on your page under which you can provide all the media links covering current tsunami of $cientology coverage.

    • Tory Christman

      First Last…that’s a bit of a tall order. You don’t think Tony has enough going on working,
      running the Bunker, and writing his book & doing interviews…not to mention other activities?
      My suggestion is anyone who knows HOW to create a web site, please do so.

      Once created, you’d only need a few people who
      are tech savvy to run it. We could then all send them links to good videos. Once it’s created,
      THEN we can ask Tony to create a link for it. Don’t you think?

      If Tony’s ok to do it the other way—that’s great too. I like the idea, for sure.
      I just always TRY to remember ALL that is on
      his books, right now. πŸ™‚ Anyone up for creating an easy Web site where we can put links to the many interviews and talks?

    • ObsessedReader

      Aeger Primo creates and posts a list on WWP, ESMB and

  • First Last
    • Rita Gregory


  • Jane

    For anyone who may not have seen the video which I think marked the beginning of the end….

  • I knew Ron Sr for a bit. He seemed like a nice fellow. Glad he got out but sorry he had a psycho watching him (he probably has a replacement psycho watching him now), as ordered by Dear Sociopath Miscavige. This just says to me “What Your Donations Pay For, Updated” … The world needs a Wake-up Call to take action against this suppressive group.

  • Robert

    This is so comical , just after the going clear documentary came out and the church kept saying ” we don’t do that” here is Miscaviage being caught with his PI’s. ! wow! Anyone who was remotely interested in learning something about the church and may have wanted to try it but first did a little research online or seen the documentary would say ” that is too creepy for me”! and stay away from it. Any one who is gay and did a little research online would say ” oh their homophobes! and stay way from it…
    and any one crazy like Manson would not get involved anyway since they are the 2% of SP’s the church deny anyway… so who do they have left to recruit?? The only ones they can some how mind control from the start… tell them not to look at anything for themselves and only listen and believe what THEY have to say.

  • Mark Ebner

    Ron Sr.’s case seems air tight, and he can add me to the list of those who can testify about Scientology’s felonious, ongoing pattern of stalking perceived enemies: