By GABRIELLA BOCK | Reporter
A new twist in the saga surrounding the mysterious death of Jeffrey Lash, a Highlands resident who claimed he was an alien-hybrid working as a secret government agent, will reveal itself next month when litigants of his estate battle one another in a Los Angeles County probate court.
On Tuesday, Oct. 3, Lash’s former fiancée Catherine Nebron, along with nine of the deceased’s distant cousins, will appear at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown LA to assert their claim over the man’s bizarre cache of firearms, ammunition and several vehicles.
The extraordinary saga continues to grip the imagination. Frances Sharpe, former editor-in-chief of the Palisadian-Post, is writing a book with a member of Lash’s inner circle.
Hollywood Reporter magazine, in cooperation with the Post, is preparing to publish an extensive, in-depth investigation about the man known around town as “Bob Smith.”
Lash stockpiled an arsenal of 1,200 guns and ammunition in the Highlands home of Nebron before his unusual death on July 3, 2015.
Nebron’s attorney, Harlan Braun told the Post that Lash coerced the 56-year-old real estate investor to spend thousands of dollars of her own money for the purchasing of the weapons and vehicles, including a jeep outfitted to traverse through water.
LAPD discovered the arsenal on July 19, 2015, after Lash was found decomposing in an SUV outside Nebron’s condo on the 1700 block of Palisades Drive.
It was there that police also uncovered a system of containment walls and locking mechanisms that authorities said were installed as a way to keep Nebron captive in her own home.
“He tortured my client for 17 years,” Braun told the Post. “She was forced to sleep on a bathroom mat like an animal … now Lash is gone, but she’s still trapped in his litigation.
“To this end, we plan to sue the estate for damages, along with our claim over the guns.”
Following his death, LAPD seized the weapons cache along with $230,000 found inside Nebron’s 2,000-square-foot condo. Once originally speculated to have been worth well over $1 million, Braun estimated that the guns and ammunition hold a true value of $550,000.
The arsenal, along with the money and vehicles, is to remain in police custody until after the probate trial reaches a conclusion.
Lash, who has no record of ever holding employment, is believed to have had a roster of wealthy women who he psychologically manipulated into monetarily supporting his eccentric fantasies, with Nebron and her assistant, Dawn Marie Vadbunker, at the top of the list.
Such requests reached an apex of absurdity following Lash’s passing on July 3.
Lash—who was believed to have died from Lou Gehrig’s disease—instructed the women to pack his dead body in dry ice and leave it in an SUV parked outside Nebron’s home.
He further directed Nebron and Vadbunker to leave town so that government officials could come and remove his remains.
And as wild as the story appears, Nebron and Vadbunker weren’t the only women caught up in Lash’s wild conspiracies.
Another woman named Michelle Lyons had lived with Lash from 1986 to 1998 in an LA condo outfitted similarly to the one he shared with Nebron.
But despite moving out, Lyons continued to supply Lash with whatever his heart desired, including CDs, DVDs, electronics and a meal allowance totaling up to $7,140 per month.
Such extreme and unusual expenditures display the power Lash had over his small following of women, a point which Nebron plans to use at her upcoming court date.
Other claimants jockeying for the estate are a group of relatives who surfaced after the news of Lash’s death made national headlines.
“These people, who Lash hadn’t been in contact with in over 20 years, are all coming out of the woodwork,” Braun said. “They have absolutely no claim to these items.
“Meanwhile, Catherine—who drained her accounts and gave up years of her life for this man—sits wondering if she’ll ever be able to turn the page and move on.”