One of the questions asked in episode 42 of Scientology Fair Game was the ubiquitous “Where’s Shelly?”
As viewers of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath may remember this was one of many reasons that Remini ended up leaving the cult.
Shelly Miscavige, wife of COB David Miscavige, has not been seen or heard from since 2007. Leah Remini initiated a Missing Persons Report not long after she left COS.
Unfortunately her response from the LAPD was lukewarm at best. Rather than speaking to Shelley, LAPD took Scientology’s word that she was fine and that was that.
This apparent lack of due diligence by LAPD left the rest of us outraged, wondering if they were covering up for Scientology at Shelly’s expense and safety.
In 2020 I filed a Public Records Request with Riverside County, CA Sheriff asking for all records between them and Gold Base near Hemet.
As it turns out, there aren’t many available records to be had.
While there are interactions, they are not of the type requiring paperwork.
Stemming from my request, Sergeant Greg Bonhomie contacted me and we had an informative, lengthy conversation.
During our discussion I brought up the subject of Shelly Miscavige.
Whenever the question of Shelly is raised a common comment is “if MY spouse had disappeared for over a decade the police would be asking ME questions!”
In truth this is not the case.
According to the law adults have the right to disappear.
As Sergeant Bonhomie explained it, an adult has the legal right to go off the grid and in spite of requests for a welfare check, there is only so much the police can do.
Without any clear indication of duress or foul play, law enforcement cannot force their way onto private property nor can they demand to speak to the alleged missing person.
Bonhomie told me that if he were to show up at the gates of CST near Lake Arrowhead asking about Shelly Miscavige’s wellbeing, those gates are as close as he could get.
Being told by a member of Scientology that she’s fine and doesn’t want to speak with him is legally the end of his investigation.
Law enforcement is restricted in their abilities and the ends do not justify the means. There are, of course, questions of liability. Ultimately the police are constrained by financial repercussions if something were to go wrong.
We all know that Scientology would not hesitate to sue if the police conducted a raid on any COS property without due cause.
As Bonhomie noted, even were they to force entry and discover a massive stash of weapons or some other illegal activity, without having a warrant or legitimate reason for their presence everything else would fall apart and they’d be liable under the law.
In Shelly’s case, she could very well be locked up against her will. She may be watched by PIs or other guards to keep her from leaving.
Unless some evidence of her situation could be obtained, there is simply no way to help her.
Sergeant Bonhomie told me that under normal circumstances a PI might be hired to surveil a subject in order to determine if a crime was being committed. Shelly Miscavige is not living under normal circumstances.
As we saw during The Aftermath when Mike Rinder drove up to CST and confronted the private investigator outside the gates, there is simply no way to get close enough to even determine if Shelly is there.
Bonhomie noted that she could literally be anywhere Scientology moves her but because she is an adult and there is no proof he can act upon, law enforcement hands are tied.
If a Scientologist at CST, Gold Base, Flag or any other property says she’s fine then that’s all that can be done.
Shelly Miscavige could be existing under lock and key, forced against her will to endure incarceration at her husband’s hands.
Unless a miracle were to occur and even one bit of proof appeared that could legally allow police to force their way in to free her she is condemned to this existence for the rest of her life.
Even if this best case scenario appeared, the psychological abuse and control is so effective, Shelly could advise the police she wants to be where she is and they would have no other choice but to leave without her.
Where Scientology is the subject, often law enforcement is guilty by association. There are instances that raise eyebrows and underline the belief that the cult’s safepointing does work in their favor. However not all cases involving the police are that way.
In Shelly’s situation Scientology has the law firmly on their side.
All we can do is hope that either one day Scientology slips up or, better, Shelly Miscavige finds the strength and wherewithal to escape on her own.