Sheriff-Coroner Declines To Conduct Inquest In Hubbard Death
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) _ A coroner has rejected a request for an inquest into the death of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, saying there’s no reason to doubt that he died of a stroke.
At the time of Hubbard’s death, he was attended by Dr. Eugene Denk of Los Angeles, who signed the death certificate citing stroke as the cause of death, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff-Coroner George S. Whiting said Tuesday.
″There is no information obtained during the inquiry to suggest death resulted from other than the cause stated by the physician,″ Whiting said.
Ron DeWolf, Hubbard’s disinherited son, had requested an inquest into the Jan. 24 death of Hubbard, a reclusive millionaire science fiction author whose books formed the basis of Scientology. DeWolf, who changed his name, contends Scientology is fraudulent.
Hubbard, who had not been seen publicly since 1980, died on a 160-acre ranch in a rugged area about 30 miles northeast of San Luis Obispo.
Two days after Hubbard’s death was announced publicly on Jan. 27 by the Church of Scientology, Boston attorney Michael Flynn sent a letter to Whiting on behalf of DeWolf saying an inquest was needed to determine if Hubbard’s wealth ″would provide a motive for individuals close to Hubbard to engage in potential wrongdoing.″
DeWolf, Hubbard’s eldest son, filed an unsuccessful suit in 1982 claiming that Hubbard was either dead or mentally incompetent.
Flynn said he plans to contest Hubbard’s will, signed one day before his death at age 74.
Four days before his death, Hubbard signed a document requesting that no autopsy be conducted because of his religious beliefs, church officials said. His body was cremated.
The Church of Scientology, founded in 1954, has been called a brainwashing cult by some former members and critics, and has waged legal battles with federal authorities over taxes and tax exemptions.