The Curious Death of George de Mohrenschildt

Jack Patterson's picture

IN ALL MY RESEARCH of the JFK Assassination collection at the National Archives while writing The Warren Omissions, no one character fascinated me more than that of George de Mohrenschildt. His life served as a strange mystery.

Born in Russia in 1911, George began his exciting life by escaping Russia after his father was arrested by the Bolsheviks and sentenced to a gulag. They family moved to Poland before young George eventually attended college in Belgium, earning a doctorate in international commerce. In 1938, George moved to the United States and fell under the watchful eye of the FBI.

In New York, George met the Bouvier family, including young Jackie, who would eventually marry JFK. According to George, he worked for French intelligence, gathering information on pro-German companies. Meanwhile, the FBI believed he had ties to the Nazis.

Marrying wealthy widows and divorcing them became the hallmark of George’s romantic modus operandi. It helped him build his own sizeable wealth as he entered into a career in the U.S. oil industry via geological sciences. The oil industry is also how he met George H. Bush -- and why he corresponded with him personally when Bush served as the director of the CIA.

George’s affiliating with the JFK assassination conspiracy took an interesting turn when he connected with J. Walton Moore of the CIA’s Domestic Contacts Division while living in Dallas. In fact, within days upon the Oswalds moving to Dallas, George and the equally mysterious Col. Lawrence Orlov drove to meet the Oswalds. George’s connection to the Oswalds grew more apparent during the initial investigation into JFK’s death when the infamous picture of Oswald holding a rifle (made so by being the cover photo in Life magazine).

While the true nature of George’s connection to the CIA may never be known, it’s his death that fascinates me the most.

On March 29, 1977, George was visiting a family friend in Manalapan, Florida, located between West Palm Beach and Boca Raton. George’s daughter was staying with this friend, which from all accounts was the reason for his visit. However, while he was there, George agreed to conduct an interview with journalist Edward Jay Epstein for a feature story to be published in Reader’s Digest.

Gaeton Fonzi telegramDuring the interview, House Select Committee on Assassinations investigator Gaeton Fonzi paid a visit to the home where George was staying. Fonzi was an investigative reporter from Philadelphia hired by the HSCA. He left his business card there with George’s daughter and asked if he could call him once he returned.


When George took a break to come home from lunch, George’s daughter informed her father in Spanish to keep the house made and gardener from knowing what was going on (isn’t that a twist?) that Fonzi dropped by. She gave him the card and left to go shopping. Later that afternoon, George was found dead in his upstairs bedroom with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. No one heard the gun go off. No suicide note either.


I explore this idea in a fictionalized manner in my new novel, The Warren Omissions, but this explanation of a suicide seems unlikely. The fact that his death was ruled a suicide and George’s body was cremated all within a week adds to the suspicion that something else was going on here. What creates the most amount of suspicion in my mind were the CIA personnel connected to George de Mohrenschildt: J. Walton Moore who answered to Richard Helms.

Helms, who eventually became the director of the CIA, oversaw a mind-control program called Project Artichoke, later renamed a much hipper name, Project MKUltra. This program used drugs to coerce people to do whatever the CIA wanted. And in this case, I suspect suicide.

Prior to his death, Fonzi penned a great tome entitled, “The Last Investigation,” which explained his work on the JFK Assassination was the last government investigation that will ever occur and why. His posited that the CIA sabotaged his efforts to conduct a thorough and conclusive investigation. Getting key witnesses -- or key players in perhaps George de Mohrenschildt’s case -- would be an effective way to thwart the truth from ever emerging.

George de Mohrenschildt’s family insisted that he would’ve never committed suicide. And I tend to agree. A megalomaniac would never do such a thing … unless someone else was controlling his mind.

Is this a far-fetched theory? Perhaps, but the suspicious details surrounding both George de Mohrenschildt’s life and death remain suggest that at the least he knew something about the conspirators who killed JFK, if not played a major role in making it happen.