The life and death of Jeffrey A. Lash a.k.a. Bob Smith took yet another unusual turn. Lash, of Pacific Palisades, California, was found dead last August in the company of two women. He died of natural causes on July 4, 2015, leaving behind questions but also a stockpile of more than 1,500 firearms of various sorts, 6.5 tons of ammunition and nearly $250,000 in cash. All of the purchases were legal. The reasons why Lash purchased so many weapons are a mystery.
Lash died without a will, but court proceedings determined that there were surviving relatives to inherit the windfall. However, according to attorney Daniel Brookman, Lash’s family prefer to destroy the guns "to send a message." Attorney Brookman, who represents Lash's relatives, told ABC News, "They want these instruments of death to be destroyed. They don’t want these weapons out on the street." By some accounts, the weapons may be valued as much as $5 million. Some of the weapons found at Lash’s house had never been fired or still had price tags on them.
Lash’s first cousins and other relatives are thus forgoing millions of dollars they could earn from the sale of the guns and ammo, said Brookman. "They don't want them to contribute to the carnage," he said. "Especially in light of San Bernardino and Orlando, as ordinary citizens, they feel like a stand should be taken."
Brookman added, "The relatives are wanting to send a message not just to the nation at large, but also to our elected leaders."
Neighbors said that Lash occasionally claimed to be working for the intelligence community. They had not noticed the delivery of weapons to the residence.
Lash also had a collection of dozens of vehicles. VadBunker's husband, Jim Curry, said she had been employed by Lash as a property manager for four years, and was also employed to rent garages in Southern California to store the car collection. Curry and VadBunker had been married about a year when VadBunker finally met Lash. Until then, her contact had been limited to telephone conversations with Nebron. Once VadBunker met Lash, said Curry, she was a changed woman. VadBunker left her husband on June 14 with no explanation even though just a week before she had told him that she had never been happier. Curry said the abandonment turned his world “upside down.”
Jim Curry and Dawn VanBunker in happier days
Once the story was public, more information emerged about VadBunker. In a letter to her parents, VadBunker apologized for her behavior but explained that is was for “the good of the world.” Her mother, Laura VanBunker, corroborated the existence of the story that Lash was an alien hybrid. The VadBunker had filed a missing person’s report when daughter Dawn disappeared. The case was closed when her letter came from Oregon saying that she would never return. She did not mention the episode with the corpse.
Laura VanBunker said, “It’s worse than a Twilight Zone movie and we’ve lived through hell.” She said of Lash, "He was part alien and part human and was out to save the world."
It was death that opened a door to the secretive life of 60-year-old Lash. Neighbors told police that Lash, who they knew as “Bob Smith,” had claimed to work for a government agency “like the FBI or CIA.” Lash had made similar claims to neighbors at his former residence in Sunset Mesa, according to the Palisadian-Post. The apartment manager there said that he always dressed in black and acted paranoid.
Dawn VanBunker apparently believed Lash’s explanation of extraterrestrial ancestry. In an interview with People magazine last year, she said that she met Lash just weeks before his death. Nebron asked her to perform Reiki palm healing on him. “I did two sessions and wouldn’t go back,” VadBunker told the magazine. “I was told we were being watched all the time and no one can harm him. The man was very, very ill. I never met a man who wasn’t dead in that condition.”
Lash was born on December 3, 1954. His mother was a piano teacher and his father was a microbiologist. He graduated Los Angeles’s Westchester High School in 1972, enrolled in the University of California, Los Angeles, but dropped out in the mid-1980s.
Lash’s father, Joseph Lash, owned a laboratory and may have collaborated with a Dr. Elmer Belt, who repotedly pioneered sex change surgery techniques. When his father died in 2010, Lash may have inherited his elder’s microbiology patents.
Joseph Lash’s companion, Shirley Anderson, said Lash rarely visited his father. The last time she saw him was in 2010 when his father was dying. “We were not privy to any of his friends,” she said. “We never knew where he lived. We didn’t know he had a fiancée. He didn’t want us talking on the phone because he didn’t want to put us in harm’s way. I don’t know if it was the truth or he just didn’t want to keep in touch.”
VadBunker and Nebron were only two of the women in Lash’s life. Before living with Nebron, Lash lived in a condo in Malibu with Michelle Lyons. The three women had been contributing to his financial support. According to attorney Braun, Nebron was scared that if she stopped financially supporting Lash, a family or friend might get hurt by secret agents.