We were stunned when Debrah Kitchings said it: in the 26 years since she investigated the odd death of Mary Florence "Flo" Barnett for the Los Angeles County Coroner, she has not once been asked by a reporter about what she remembers of the case.
Only once in that time, she says, was she ever asked about it at all.
"I think her daughter or a relative sent a letter, an inquiry, I think," Kitchings says.
Today, Kitchings is retired and lives in Riverside County, California, but in 1985, she was an investigator with the LA Department of Coroner when, on the night of September 8, she was called to Dominguez Valley Hospital in Compton to conduct a gunshot residue test on the hands of the dead woman.
Despite the passage of time, Kitchings remembers the case well. And she suspects that there's a reason I'm interested in this one death out of the many she handled over her career.
"It has something to do with Scientology, right?"
Indeed, it does. Over the years, interest in the death of Flo Barnett has endured because of her connection to the Church of Scientology -- Barnett's daughter, Michelle "Shelly" Barnett, in 1981 married David Miscavige, who today is the supreme leader of the worldwide religion. Flo was Miscavige's mother-in-law, and Shelly herself has not been seen in public with her husband since 2006. But that's a story we'll be going into on another day.