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Almost 12 years ago, Shelly Miscavige vanished. Here’s why we keep asking about her.

[Shelly Miscavige and Leah Remini, about a year before Shelly vanished.]

Almost 12 years ago now, Scientology leader David Miscavige made his wife Shelly disappear.

In late August or early September 2005, Shelly vanished from Scientology’s secretive “Int Base” near Hemet, California, a place she had helped her husband run as a hard-as-nails Scientology “Sea Org” official in her own right.

We’ve written numerous times about the events that led up to her disappearance, that Miscavige blew his stack, for example, when he found out that Shelly had filled some job openings while he spent some time away from the base in Los Angeles. Mike Rinder told us that Shelly was also concerned about whether her husband was still wearing his wedding ring. It was obvious to him that Shelly was very concerned about the state of her marriage.

Until her disappearance, Shelly not only helped run Scientology as “C.O.B. Assistant” to her husband David, the “Chairman of the Board,” but she was also seen at annual Scientology events, and took the initiative in major operations. Just the year before, in 2004, she had spearheaded an effort to find a girlfriend for Tom Cruise, for example, and had young women auditioned for the role.


So it was extremely unusual for Shelly suddenly to be gone, even though some people didn’t notice it for a while. For Leah Remini, it was when she was at the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes wedding in Italy more than a year later, in November 2006. It dawned on her that David Miscavige was there without his wife, and when she asked about it, she was told by Tommy Davis that she “didn’t have the fucking rank” to ask that question.

When Leah left Scientology in 2013 she was still asking that question — where is Shelly Miscavige? And she asked it of the Los Angeles Police Department, which responded to her missing-person report by visiting Shelly and getting her assurance that she was all right and didn’t want to make a public statement. When we asked LAPD Lt. Andre Dawson if his two detectives who met with Shelly did so in the presence of other church officials, he told us, “that’s classified.”

Even before Leah Remini came out of Scientology, however, we’d been writing about the strange disappearance of Shelly Miscavige, and we’ve worked hard to investigate her whereabouts through multiple, independent sources. And all of those sources point to one place, where we believe Shelly has been living and working since 2005: the Church of Spiritual Technology headquarters compound near Crestline, California.

CST is a bizarre sub-entity of Scientology whose mandate is to archive L. Ron Hubbard’s writings and lectures in underground vaults so that they can be recovered after civilization collapses. CST has vaults in three locations in California and one in New Mexico and planned to add another one in Wyoming that seems to be held up. But it’s at the headquarters compound in the mountains above Los Angeles where the actual archiving work goes on, with Hubbard’s words etched on steel plates to be stored in titanium containers filled with inert gases. For the last 12 years, Shelly Miscavige has worked on that project, as well as other Scientology products.

Recently, we posted amazing drone footage of the CST compound, and we also, last year, published a report about a possible sighting of Shelly in the town of Crestline itself, a sighting that we’re taking seriously.

According to that sighting, Shelly Miscavige may be in poor shape. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office refused to get involved when members of Shelly’s own (non-Scientology) family sought help getting more information about her. We similarly ran into a brick wall with the Sheriff’s Office.

But we have also said many times that it may be the case that Shelly is resigned to her fate, and wouldn’t welcome a chance to be “rescued” from the facility. At one point, she told a family member that the only way she was going to leave the place was for a funeral, apparently referring to the time in the summer of 2007 when she was allowed to attend the funeral of her father, Barney, while being watched by a Scientology “handler.”

Yes, it’s true that Shelly Miscavige is not “missing.” Her husband David Miscavige knows exactly where she is. And we’re pretty confident about where she is, too.

But it’s also true that Leah Remini, Mike Rinder, and many others are genuinely concerned about her, and are frustrated that law enforcement doesn’t seem more interested in her fate.

And that’s why Marty Rathbun’s latest accusations, in his most recent video segment posted to his website, are so dishonest and distasteful. Rathbun left Scientology in 2004, before Shelly’s disappearance, and he has no first-hand knowledge about it. Marty sounds exactly like the Church of Scientology itself, calling into question Leah Remini’s motives for seeking information about her friend Shelly, while simultaneously refusing to answer the most obvious question about her: Where is she? Why can’t Shelly explain her situation herself, if not to a reporter, then in a video to the members of the Church of Scientology? Why is her location and her work so secret that not even her own family members can see her?

These are legitimate questions, and Rathbun doesn’t attempt to address them.

The Church of Scientology can end speculation about Shelly Miscavige very easily: Let her speak for herself.

Speaking of Rathbun’s accusations, he made a lot of them in his previous video segment, titled “Leah Remini and her Troublemakers, Part 16.” They were largely about Aaron Smith-Levin and the episode of Remini’s show he was featured in.

Aaron decided to make a video response to Rathbun’s allegations. We look forward to reading your thoughts about Aaron’s video in the comments section.



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,810 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,567 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,913 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,407 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,447 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,159 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 685 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,774 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,914 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,234 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,209 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 565 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,867 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 974 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,376 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,249 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 830 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,335 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,579 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,688 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on July 13, 2017 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

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


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