Inside his own head, Jeffrey Alan Lash was a secret government
operative under constant surveillance by the CIA, the FBI or both.
He spent lavishly to build up an arsenal of 1,200 firearms, six and
half tons of ammunition and explosive-making materials, which he piled
high in every room of the small condominium he shared with his fiancee
in a well-heeled hillside enclave high above the Pacific Ocean in Los
He had twelve cars, including one reported to be bullet-proof and
worth around $100,000. When he and his fiancee went to dinner at the
local Italian restaurant, they drove in separate cars, and always paid
Any time Lash saw a camera, he would get upset. He told people his
name was Bob Smith. Then he died, and things got truly strange.
Police in Los Angeles have spent several days figuring out why Lash’s
body ended up in a car outside his house and was left to decompose for
almost two weeks. They found it last Saturday – not because of a tip-off
from the neighbours, who appear to have been oblivious throughout, but
because a lawyer representing his fiancee gave them a call.
They also deployed a bomb squad and chemical experts in Hazmat suits
to go through his vast arsenal of weapons and explosives – all of it, to
judge police photographs and initial reports from the investigation,
acquired legally and left untouched.
Some chemicals were too unstable to transport, so the police blew
them up. The tentative conclusion is that Lash was a rich eccentric so
caught up in his make-believe world of spying and derring-do that he had
his fiancee, Catherine Nebron-Gorin, convinced it was real.
When he was diagnosed with cancer a year ago, he reportedly told her
it was the result of chemical weapons exposure on an old mission.
On 3 July, the couple and a friend were shopping at a supermarket in
Santa Monica, a few miles away from the house, when Lash became unwell
and died in the outdoor parking lot.
Nebron-Gorin later told a friend she had specific instructions from
Lash on what to do if he died. Don’t call the authorities. Leave him in a
car. Get out of town, and let his minders take care of the body. So she
The friend, a doctor who did not want to be named, told the
Palisadian Post newspaper he spent 90 minutes trying to revive Lash in
the passenger seat of an SUV outside his house on the night he died as
Nebron-Gorin was “wailing and grieving”.
Nebron-Gorin left for Oregon and when she returned she was stunned to
see Lash’s body where she had previously left it. She called a
high-profile criminal defence lawyer, Harland Braun, whose previous
clients have included Dennis Rodman, Roseanne Barr, Gary Busey and
Robert Blake, the actor eventually acquitted of murdering his wife in
circumstances almost as bizarre as the Lash case.
Braun told the police about the body and warned them the house was
stuffed with weapons. And the police immediately evacuated the