As the father of Scientology leader David Miscavige prepares for the release of his tell-all memoir, Ron Miscavige has opened up about being trailed by private investigators after he left the controversial church in 2012, and feeling like he was “shot in the head” when he learned that his own son seemingly did not care about his well-being.
In July 2013, authorities in West Allis, Wisconsin, questioned Dwayne Powell and his son Daniel after following up on a call about a man acting suspiciously in the neighborhood where Ron Miscavige was living with his wife.
Dwayne Powell told police he was a private investigator working with his son, and a search of his rented SUV revealed a cache of handguns, rifles, 2,000 rounds of ammunition, a stun gun, a GPS tracking device, a high zoom camera, a satellite computer, a bag of license plates for five different states, and what police said “appeared to be a rifle silencing device,” according to a police report.
“It sounds like he’s a hitman, doesn’t it?” Ron Miscavige tells ABC News’ 20/20 in an exclusive interview airing Friday evening.
According to the police report, Dwayne Powell “stated that he was hired by the CA based Church of Scientology to conducted [sic] full time surveillance of a Ronald Miscavige,” the report said, adding that Powell said he was being paid by attorneys for the Church, “and that the main client is a David Miscavige.”
Daniel Powell also told authorities in a tape-recorded interview about an incident involving his father, Dwayne Powell, observing Ron Miscavige and believing the man to be having a heart attack. According to the police report, Daniel Powell said his father “called and reported it.”
“A couple minutes later, his dad told him that David Miscavige called him directly and told him not to intervene and let Ron die if it was his time,” the police report said.
Ron Miscavige tells ABC News’ 20/20 that he remembers the “heart attack” incident – which was him merely reaching for a cell phone inside his shirt pocket – and his reaction upon learning his son’s alleged response.
The elder Miscavige says he felt like he was “shot in the head” and it led him to believe that David’s “position in the church and his public relations and his image meant more to him than a father.”
Ron Miscavige introduced his son to Scientology in the late ’60s, and David rose quickly through its ranks, becoming leader of the church while still in his mid-20s after the death of founder L. Ron Hubbard in 1986.
He left the church in 2012, and on May 3 will release Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me, a memoir he wrote with encouragement from actress Leah Remini, a fellow ex-Scientologist who also penned a memoir about her exit from the church.
An attorney for Scientology confirmed in an interview with ABC News that the church did hire private investigators to track Ron Miscavige after he left the church in 2012, but that David Miscavige had nothing to do with them and never spoke to them.
“There wasn’t any reason to tell him [David Miscavige]” about the investigators, Monique Yingling says. “They [the Church’s attorneys] decided that the private investigators were following Ron, first of all, for his own well-being and his own safety. They were also concerned that he might somehow, because he was an elderly man with David’s name, become the pawn of some of the anti-Scientologists out there.”
“Lawyers use private investigators all the time for, you know, varieties of reasons, and it’s just no big deal,” she added.
Yingling also tells ABC News that what Daniel Powell told police regarding David Miscavige and the “heart attack incident” was incorrect.
“It’s not true, and Dwayne Powell has said that it’s not true,” Yingling tells 20/20.
The outlet also reports that the church produced a signed statement from Dwayne Powell that says he never spoke to David Miscavige and that both the police and his son Daniel were incorrect.
“I never met him. I never received any instruction or directions from him directly or indirectly. David Miscavige never was my client. The statement made in a West Allis Police Report that I received a call from a man who identified himself as David Miscavige is not correct. I did not make such a statement to police,” said the statement, per ABC News.
However, the West Allis Police Department tells ABC News in a statement that it stands by its report.
“There is no confusion in the statements that were made by Dwayne and Daniel Powell,” per the police statement. “Dwayne and Daniel Powell were interviewed independently of one another, and their statements corroborated one another. The ‘Declaration of Dwayne Powell’ dated August 7, 2015 [his signed statement to Scientology] directly contradicts statements which Dwayne Powell made to members of the West Allis Police Department in July of 2013.”