Scientology President's Son Died of Prescribed Methadone While Sick With Pneumonia

Karen de la Carriere with Alexander Jentzsch at his wedding to Andrea Evans
I talked earlier today to Ed Winter, assistant chief coroner of Los Angeles County, who tells me that he's ruling Alexander Jentzsch's death an accident.

The 27-year-old son of Scientology president Heber Jentzsch was found dead on the morning of July 3 at the home of his in-laws. Winter has now determined that Alexander was suffering from pneumonia while he was on a prescription of methadone. His injury was "drug intake," Winter says, and "final mode" of death an accident.

"What you're telling me sounds like an accidental drug overdose while he was very sick," I said to Winter.

"That's what I'm telling you," he answered.

Karen de la Carriere, Alexander's mother, tells me that Winter is not done investigating.

"They don't even have all the reports back yet. And they're looking at that methadone prescription," she tells me.

She points out that a healthy 27-year-old is not likely to die from pneumonia. And if he was following his methadone prescription -- and so far there's no indication that he didn't -- that also should not have been lethal.

It's the combination that killed Alexander Jentzsch.

The son of the president of the Church of Scientology International, cut off by the church from both of his parents, was taking methadone while he had serious pneumonia rather than antibiotics. And that doesn't look good.

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Methadone Found Near Alexander Jentzsch's Body; LAPD Says Natural Death Or Overdose Likely

Alexander Jentzsch
I just got off the phone with Lt. Paul Vernon of the Los Angeles Police Department, who is overseeing the detectives handling the investigation into the death of Alexander Jentzsch. He just gave me this statement about the police department's understanding of the case so far:

"While I understand people's concerns about the circumstances of this death, by all indications there was no foul play. And given that some medications were present at the scene, and the circumstances leading up to the death, we believe that after the toxicology results comes back, this will end up being either a natural death due to illness or an overdose. And if it is an overdose, it would probably be accidental and not purposeful."

Vernon would not elaborate on the nature of the medications, but the Voice has learned from two sources that Methadone was one of them. Methadone is prescribed to people trying to free themselves from a heroin addiction. (Note: It's also important to point out that methadone is prescribed for chronic pain, and the coroner had been told that Jentzsch was taking medication for a back problem.)

That should come as a shock to Scientologists both in and outside of the church that Alexander belonged to -- and which he worked for as a Sea Org member for 16 years. In the church, an overdose death would be extremely embarrassing, particularly for the son of Heber Jentzsch, president of Scientology.

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After Voice Story, Scientology President Heber Jentzsch Calls Brother To Complain

Heber Jentzsch and John Travolta
Friday morning, the Voice published an interview with David Jentzsch, 80, who said that it's been more than three years since he's heard any word from his brother, Heber Jentzsch, 76, the president of the Church of Scientology.

As we've been reporting, Heber, although he's been the president of the church since 1982, had so fallen from favor in the eyes of Scientology leader David Miscavige, he had been seen in public only rarely since around 2004 -- and multiple former church executives say that from at least 2006 to 2010, he was being held in Scientology's hellish office-prison at its International Base, known as "The Hole."

David said that not only has he been told by Scientology workers at the base that he could not talk to his brother, but that if he attempted to come see Heber, he would be turned away.

I just talked to David again, who says our story produced a very surprising result: this morning, Heber called him and angrily berated him for talking to the press.

"I'm glad that it happened," David tells us, "because it got him out of his cage to talk to me."

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Scientology President Heber Jentzsch Told His Brother: "I'll Never Get Out of Here Alive" ALSO: Alex Jentzsch's Last Phone Call?

Better days: Heber Jentzsch and John Travolta
David Jentzsch, 80, tells me that the last time he spoke to his brother Heber, 76, was about three years ago. And at that time he urged his younger brother to break out of Scientology's International Base near Hemet, California.

"He said, 'I don't think I can ever get out of here.' But I told him, 'You have to try.' And the last thing he said to me was, 'I'll never get out of here alive'."

Since then, David says, the workers at the base have refused to take his call.

"They won't let me talk to him. Heber just lost his son, Alexander," David explains. "I called and told them I'd like to talk to my brother about this. They told me, 'You can't come, we don't want you here.' I told them I'd come down there and they'd have to let me see him. But they said, 'Heber is not going to be able to talk to you, so it's best that you don't come."

David didn't know that his brother had been let out of the base for a rare visit to Los Angeles and a hastily-arranged memorial for his son last week.

"I wish I'd known that, I would have been there to try to see him."

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Scientologists Told that Alexander Jentzsch Died of Reaction to "Prescribed Painkiller"

Heber and Alexander Jentzsch
As the Los Angeles Coroner's office continues to investigate the July 3 death of Alexander Jentzsch -- the 27-year-old son of Heber Jentzsch, the Church of Scientology's president -- Alexander's mother, Karen de la Carriere, continues to hear from people in and outside of the church about the days leading up to his death.

This evening, she was forwarded an e-mail that had been sent to church members describing a memorial service held last Thursday at Scientology's Hollywood Celebrity Centre on Franklin Avenue. The e-mail is signed by Stan Gerson, a well-known Scientologist who had been Alexander's godfather. (We left a phone message with Gerson, who is a Sherman Oaks commercial real estate broker and also performs as a stage magician.)

According to the e-mail, Alexander's father, Heber Jentzsch, did give the eulogy at the service. Alexander's mother, de la Carriere, was not invited to the memorial, which the e-mail describes as an idyllic affair -- and seems intended to counter growing media interest in the unusual circumstances around Alexander's death.

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Alexander Jentzsch's Death Under Investigation After Unusual Responses from Scientology In-Laws

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Alexander Jentzsch
On Friday, we learned that the coroner's investigation into Alexander Jentzsch's death had taken an unusual turn because of some unusual responses from the people who found his unresponsive body.

We kept quiet about that until this afternoon at the request of Karen de la Carriere, Alexander's mother, who was concerned about Scientology interference with the coroner's investigation.

But now, after RadarOnline wrote about the situation today, we're adding a little more detail about what we know.

Alexander Jentzsch, 27, had been staying at the home of his in-laws. LA Coroner Assistant Chief Ed Winter told Karen de la Carriere that on Monday, July 2, the in-laws had noticed Jentzsch still in bed at about 9 am when they left their house. Twelve hours later, when they returned, Jentzsch had not moved, but they did not check on him. The next morning, on July 3, when they saw that Jentzsch was still in the same position, the father-in-law checked on him and found him unresponsive.

At that point, Karen says Winter told her, the father-in-law then took a child to school and only after he returned and still found Jentzsch unresponsive did he call 9-1-1.

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Scientology's Shame: Karen de la Carriere Stuns KFI Radio; ALSO: Katie and Suri's Accident

We were first to report the death of Alexander Jentzsch, the son of the Church of Scientology's president, Heber Jentzsch, and the subsequent controversy when the church refused to allow Alexander's mother, Karen de la Carriere, to view his body before it was cremated.

We continue to follow developments in this case as the L.A. coroner investigates Alexander's death. But in the meantime, de la Carriere made one of the most wrenching radio appearances about Scientology's controversies and abuses that we've ever heard, and on one of the largest AM stations in the country, KFI in Los Angeles.

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Video from the Memorial of Alexander Jentzsch; Also: Scientology Commenters of the Week

Filmmaker Mark Bunker put together this video of Friday's memorial held for Alexander Jentzsch aboard the ship Spirit out of Long Beach Harbor in California.

It's a simple event with a few people on a boat. But don't underestimate its significance. Since she sent out a message to thousands of Scientologists about the death of her son, Karen de la Carriere tells me that she's hearing from many people inside the church who are appalled at how she's been treated. And here at the Voice, since Karen sent her mass mailing, we've also experienced a big increase in the number of church members contacting us under the radar.

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Alexander Jentzsch, Son of Scientology's President, Memorialized At Sea

Yesterday, Karen de la Carriere memorialized her son, Alexander Jentzsch, who was found dead at a home in Los Angeles on the morning of July 3. He was only 27 years old.

Because the Church of Scientology would not give her access to her son's ashes, Karen had rose petals cast on the Pacific Ocean as other former members of the church and friends took part in a moving ceremony.

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Scientology Relents: Will Hold a Memorial for Son of Church President, Mother Not Invited

Heber's coming to town!
The Voice has received a reliable report that Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International -- who has not been seen in public since about 2004 -- is being allowed to leave Scientology's desert base east of Los Angeles in order to attend a memorial for his son, Alexander.

A church official told our source that Heber, 76, would be giving a eulogy at the service, which is to take place at the Hollywood Celebrity Centre on Franklin Avenue on Thursday morning at 11 am.

When our source asked the official if Alexander's mother, Karen de la Carriere, would be allowed to attend, the official answered that de la Carriere would be barred because "she opted out of this sector of the universe."

What she meant is that de la Carriere was excommunicated from the church in 2010, and as a "suppressive person," her son was forced to "disconnect" from her. Karen had no contact with him in the last two years of his life.

On Tuesday, July 3, Alexander was found dead at the house of his in-laws in Los Angeles. That news was kept from de la Carriere for more than two days, and she was not allowed to see her son's body before it was cremated on orders from Alexander's wife, who is still a Scientologist. Karen was also told that the church had no plans for a memorial. She then planned her own event, for this Friday.

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