Famed P.I. Was About to Retire, Now He's on Life Support

Jack Palladino had taken on last case
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 31, 2021 5:20 AM CST
Famed P.I. Jack Palladino on Life Support After Robbery
This Aug. 12, 1982 photo shows Private Investigator Jack Palladino.   (Eric Luse/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

Jack Palladino, the private investigator who worked on high-profile cases ranging from the Jonestown mass suicides to celebrity and political scandals, has been placed on life support after suffering a head injury during an attempted robbery. Palladino, 70, had just stepped outside his San Francisco home on Thursday to try out his new camera when a car pulled up and a man jumped out to grab it from him, police and the detective's stepson Nick Chapman told the San Francisco Chronicle. As the suspect grabbed the camera, Palladino fell and hit his head on the pavement, causing a traumatic head injury, per the AP. Chapman said Palladino was not expected to survive after undergoing surgery to stop the massive bleeding. Police said no suspects have been arrested.

Palladino was wrapping up one final case before joining his wife and work partner, Sandra Sutherland, in retirement. Since the 1980s, the two conducted investigations out of their Victorian home in the city's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, on behalf of the famous and powerful as well as the underdogs. They included Bill Clinton, whose 1992 presidential campaign hired Palladino to quell rumors of his extramarital affairs, and Courtney Love, who hired Palladino to talk to journalists investigating whether she played a role in the 1994 death of her husband, rock star Kurt Cobain. Other clients included John DeLorean, the auto magnate who was acquitted of cocaine trafficking charges and a 14-year-old boy who won a multimillion-dollar civil settlement against Michael Jackson for alleged molestation.

(Read more private investigator stories.)

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