Odato asked me not to contact anyone who might go on record until after they’d also been interviewed by him. I gave him permission to provide my contact information to anyone who wished to contact me after their interviews.
By Heidi Hutchinson
Seven years after my sister Gina Hutchinson’s death on October 11, 2002, an old friend of hers contacted me on Facebook.
I remember her well — a beautiful, dark-haired, doe-eyed Italian girl, also named Gina (last name Melita), who moved away from the Albany area in her late teens.
In 2009, Gina M. had only recently heard of my sister’s death and contacted me to express her condolences. She also asked what I knew about my sister’s relationship with Keith Raniere.
I was a little shocked by the question because I had never shared my sister GIna’s secret — that she had sex with Raniere from the age of 14 with anyone.
I presumed my sister, Gina, hadn’t told on herself either.
Everyone knew Keith Raniere was Gina’s mentor, one-time “guru,” her first iconic love, her employer when she went to work for CBI in it’s IT (aka “hacking”) department.
They all knew Gina was helping launch Keith’s new company, thought highly of Nancy Salzman, and remained ‘besties’ with Kristin Keeffe — who lived with Raniere and may have helped him conduct suicide mind-conditioning experiments on Gina — per the evidence.
Gina M. knew about Gina’s sexual relationship with Raniere because, as she revealed, she had also been statutorily raped by Keith Alan Raniere herself.
Gina M. suspected that Keith Raniere may have had something to do with Gina’s untimely death.
Gina M. wasn’t the first person to connect Keith Raniere to Gina’s death. Another good friend of Gina’s raised the same suspicions with me shortly after Gina’s death — at her wake.
That friend said she had gone over to #3 Flintlock in Clifton Park — near where her aunt lives — within days after Gina passed away to invite Keith Raniere, Kristin Keeffe, Pam Cafritz, Karen Unterreiner, Barbra Jeske — the troupe — to Gina’s funeral ceremony.
Our dad had put this supportive friend in charge of the arrangements for Gina until I arrived so she invited the guests to Gina’s services. No one from NXIVM showed up.
Shortly after Gina M. called me and reiterated these suspicions about Keith — and I had some of my own — I did a quick google search for an update on the monster and was alarmed to learn the Bronfman sisters had arranged/paid for the Dalai Lama to make a rare appearance doing a spiritual teaching with Keith in Albany, NY.
I was shocked.
Alarms went off in my head. It all fit with the way Keith and his minions were using my sister Gina to make inroads to the Dalai Lama, to Tibetan Buddhism —they siphoned her spirituality into their cult “program” and, now, they had the Dalai Lama’s apparent endorsement.
I imagined Gina rolling in her grave.
I contacted the Albany Times Union almost immediately and reporter Jim Odato got back to me right away. I also gave Odato Gina M.’s contact information with her permission.
This ultimately led to the Times Union story In Raniere’s Shadow – the first mainstream media reporting on Keith’s statutory rapes.
A few weeks later, Odato flew to LA to interview me on camera at my loft studio. He told me a little about some recent developments with NXIVM — that nine women had suddenly left the company. He also shared that a 3rd statutory rape victim had miraculously come forward. Her name was “Rhiannon.”
Barbara Bouchey was the first of the NXIVM 9 that I heard from.
What she had to offer about Gina’s death was a disappointment. Bouchey was well aware of Gina, but emphatic that neither Keith Raniere nor any among the NXIVM inner-circle could have possibly had anything to do with Gina’s death.
I’ve heard Barbara Bouchey’s story on Gina many times in person and by phone over the years. She gets more angry and adamant every time she retells it.
Barbara claims she witnessed Keith, Kristin, Pam and Karen’s first reaction to the news of Gina’s death firsthand. She’s reenacted the scene for me and for Frank as well, down to the position in the house everyone took while expressing the most extreme display of grief and mourning Bouchey said she has ever witnessed.
Such was Keith’s shock and bereavement that Barbara eschews any notion that Keith, or any of his minions, could have possibly had any hand in or foreknowledge of Gina’s “suicide” until that moment the news dropped on Keith’s household while Bouchey just happened to be present.
Kristin Keeffe was stricken with the news at the top of the stairs, Barbara recalled, and descended wailing, joining in Keith’s chorus that Gina had left them too soon and remained distant from all for too long for any to save her.
Gina was one of Keith’s proud “Independent Girl” achievements to that point. She’d dropped out of high school to be tutored by him and gone on to complete college, go on a Mormon mission, become a Buddhist scholar and traveled to India and the Far East in the entourage of the Karmapa — the highest holy seat in the Tibetan Buddhist Kadjupa lineage.
“Maybe we didn’t do enough,” Barbara recalled Kristin lamenting while Keith pontificated about Gina’s alleged issues he claimed to have once cured her of.
They all insisted to Barbara that Gina had been so far out of contact with them all for so many years, that even Keith could not rescue her.
This, however, was a lie. A drama being played out for Bouchey and, possibly, Karen Unterreiner’s benefit.
[Ed. Note: One possible problem with Barbara’s story is that, as I recall her telling it, this show of surprise at Gina’s death occurred some weeks after Gina died – which would have been after Gina’s friend had seen Keith and the others to invite them to the funeral services. In other words, the surprise they showed Barbara may not have been genuine. It would not be the first or last time Keith deceived Barbara.]
I knew firsthand Gina was in contact with at least Kristin Keeffe, if not Keith himself, within months prior to her death. I met Gina over in India and heard her talking with and about Kristin Keeffe and Keith Raniere while there.
That was in the Spring of 2002, “months” not “years” before Gina’s death. I imagine Gina would have been in contact with her very close friend, Kristin Keeffe when she returned to Clifton Park in the Summer of 2002 (why not?).
In fact, there was one stand out conversation Gina had with Kristin Keeffe from India that seemed to trouble Gina deeply. We were on a layover in Bangkok en route to Hong Kong for just one night. Gina didn’t even want to leave our hotel room. She was upset, crying, but didn’t want to talk it out with me.
She mentioned she was trying to help Kristin Keeffe. Help Keith help Kristin escape from “her madness.” Gina also said that Keith Raniere is “sadistic” that night in Bangkok.
I wouldn’t see Gina alive again within a week of that discussion. I flew back home to LA. Gina was booked on the same flight but there was some glitch in her ticket that caused her flight out of in India to be delayed. She was unusually upset about that when I hugged her goodbye at the airport, but she made it back to Clifton Park, NY in one piece.
She inexplicably didn’t return my emails and phone calls much thereafter.
Last I knew, before her death, Gina was living with our Aunt Mary in Clifton Park, NY — just a couple of blocks from Raniere, Keeffe, and the NXIVM compound — editing video we’d shot in India for a documentary on the Karmapa.
I also know Gina was in contact with Kristin Keeffe after India — within weeks, at least, before Gina’s death — simply because there’s proof.
Gina scrawled a phone number for “Kristin Keeffe” on a scrap piece of paper in her journal. The timing is well established by dates in the journal and by the fact that I wrote notes previously — my travel itinerary on the day I left India — on the same scrap of paper.
And, by the fact that Gina wrote dates including “Sept. 11, 2002” [one month and a day before she died] in the same pen and ink she recorded Kristin Keeffe’s number. Those notes reminded Gina to get a “first morning’s urine sample.”
Again, I don’t know if Kristin Keeffe is covering up for something. I’m hoping for her, begging for her to tell the whole truth.
Why did Gina need a urine sample?
Was Keith prompting her with some fantasy delusion that she was carrying his sacred seed?
Was she pregnant?
Did she abort, if so? [Ed. Note: Gina’s autopsy showed she was not pregnant at the time of her death.]
Who put her on the NXIVM diet that she was on when she died?
Why did she cut her hair and bleach it blond?
Who composed Gina’s “NXIVM chart,” dated August 2002 [just two months before she died] that adorns Gina’s Dream Journal?
The handwriting should be analyzed.
Who is “The Rat”? Is it Kristin?
Kristin, if you know something, please come forward and tell the truth. Whatever you hold back can only endanger you and Gaelen further.
[Ed. Note: Kristin Keeffe told me on the record that she believes Keith Raniere used various nefarious hypnotic techniques to encourage Gina Hutchinson to commit suicide and had planned to get her to commit suicide for years. She does not believe he murdered her directly or hired or told any of his minions to murder her. Keeffe said she had no hand in the death or gaslighting of Gina and was deeply grieved and hurt by her death which came as a complete surprise to her.]