(Note: This article by Jeffrey Augustine was originally published on Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker and is republished here for archival purposes)
Los Angeles, September 5, 2018: A woman dropped by our house in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz and asked to speak to my wife, Karen de la Carriere. Karen was busy, so I talked to her.
She handed me her card, which identified her as a private investigator named Rebecca Dobkin.
I asked her who she was working for, and she told me she was working for an attorney named Amanda Touchton. I asked her to spell it.
She said that Touchton represented Heber Jentzsch.
Heber is Karen’s ex-husband. He has also been, since the 1980s, the nominal president of the Church of Scientology International. I say “nominal,” because it was always little more than an honorary title — the real power to run Scientology was invested in founder L. Ron Hubbard and then, after his death in 1986, current leader David Miscavige.
Heber was well liked by Scientologists and also got along with reporters — for a while, at least, he was the person Scientology sent out to handle questions about the church, and he was pretty good at it. He was also frequently on stage at Scientology’s major events. But then, in the 1990s, his role seemed to get smaller and smaller, until he vanished pretty much altogether.
When Miscavige’s bizarre jail for upper level management was created at Scientology’s secretive management compound Int Base in 2004 — it eventually became known as “The Hole” — Heber was one of its prisoners, which we know from multiple witnesses. Heber has been out of sight almost entirely since then.
One exception was when Alexander Jentzsch, the only child that Karen and Heber had together, died in 2012 at the age of 27. Karen by then had left the church and wasn’t allowed to see her son’s body (he had died of pneumonia, exacerbated by a pain medication he was taking, according to the LA Coroner), and at first she was told that Scientology planned to have no memorial at all. But after the media made a stink about it — including Tony at the Village Voice — the church did hold a ceremony (Karen wasn’t invited) and Heber showed up for it, the first time we’d seen a photo of him in years.
Tony has reported in the past how Heber, who is from a huge Mormon family, has been missed by his relatives, who want to hear how he’s doing.
Dobkin told me that Amanda Touchton was representing Heber “in a matter related to Leah Remini’s reality TV show.”
She mispronounced Leah’s last name as “Reh-MEENIE.”
She said that she was investigating an incident that had happened at Int Base, which is near San Jacinto, about 85 miles east of Los Angeles. Apparently, someone had asked law enforcement to make a welfare check on Heber at the base.
I knew nothing about it, I told her.
She claimed that Heber had been thrown into the back of a police car during the welfare check, which I found hard to believe. Law enforcement officers checking on an 82-year-old’s welfare aren’t likely to treat them like a dangerous criminal.
She also handed me a printed out copy of a story that appeared here at the Bunker, which cited Karen saying she had been told that Heber had suffered a stroke.
She asked me how Karen knew that. I said I didn’t recall but that Heber had a lot of relatives. I couldn’t remember.
I told Dobkin that Heber Jentzsch doesn’t make enough money as a Sea Org worker to pay for a lawyer, so I assumed the real client was Scientology.
She wouldn’t confirm it.
But we think it’s a pretty good bet that it was.