Whitney Houston's body reportedly arrives in New Jersey
Whitney Houston's body arrived in New Jersey at Teterboro Airport on Monday, February 13, at 10:35 p.m. ET after it was transported from Los Angeles, reports WABC, sister station of KABC, OnTheRedCarpet.com's parent company.
The 48-year-old singer died at a hotel in Beverly Hills, California on February 11. The Los Angeles County coroner's office released the body to the family earlier that morning. In the afternoon, a police convoy accompanied two vehicles into a Van Nuys Airport hangar, and a private jet took off shortly after 3 p.m. PT, according to the wire service.
A hearse under heavy police escort arrived at approximately 11:50 p.m. ET at the New Jersey funeral home Newark's Whigham Funeral Home. OnTheRedCarpet.com learned early Monday that the home is handling the arrangements for late pop star's funeral. The funeral home handled the funeral of Houston's father, John, in 2003.
Anonymous sources close to the family told the Associated Press that family members could possibly hold a wake for the singer on Thursday and a funeral Friday at Newark's Prudential Center. The arena can seat approximately 18,000 people.
Houston was born in Newark, New Jersey and raised in nearby East Orange. She began singing as a child at Newark's New Hope Baptist Church.
"She was underwater and apparently unconscious," police said in a statement to OnTheRedCarpet.com on Monday, February 13 about the circumstances of the singer's death. "Ms. Houston was pulled from the tub by members of her staff and hotel security was promptly notified."
Paramedics tried to revive her and pronounced her dead at about 3:55 p.m. Officials said bottles of prescription drugs were found near her body.
Beverly Hills Police Department Lt. Mark Rosen told OnTheRedCarpet.com and other reporters on Monday that police have carried out a preliminary death investigation and are not treating the matter as a criminal case, but have "not ruled anything out."
Houston's body was released to her family on Monday. A police convoy accompanied two vehicles into a Los Angeles-area airport, where a private jet carrying the singer took off shortly after 3 p.m. local time and flew to Newark, New Jersey, where her family is set to arrange a funeral at the end of the week, the Associated Press said.
On the day of her death, investigators for the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office worked inside the hotel room where she died as celebrities poured into the building for a pre-Grammy gala that Houston was supposed to attend. Producer Clive Davis, her mentor, dedicated the event to her (see photos). The Coroner's Office workers transferred Houston's body out of the building early on Sunday.
Los Angeles Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter told OnTheRedCarpet.com's parent company KABC Television on Monday, February 13, that they found inside her hotel room a few bottles of pretty "normal" prescriptions. A source close to the matter said one of the medications was the antibiotic amoxicillin, OnTheRedCarpet.com has learned.
Winter said Houston's autopsy has been completed. The results will not be released until a toxicology report is produced, which could take up to eight weeks. Officials have not confirmed reports that also listed the antidepressant Xanax as one of the medication found in her hotel room.
"I have no information on where that information came from," Rosen told reporters on Monday.
TMZ.com said Houston was taking amoxicillin for a sore throat and also said coroner's officials told her family that "there was not enough water in Whitney's lungs to lead to the conclusion that she drowned" in the bathtub. Winter would not confirm whether or not water was found in Houston's lungs.
The pop, soul and R&B singer had struggled with substance abuse for years. She relapsed and returned to rehab in May. Two days before she died, she celebrated and performed at a Los Angeles nightclub in what marked her final performance, although it is unclear whether she consumed alcohol (check out photos and video from the event).
Her death occurred a day before the 2012 Grammy Awards, which featured an emotional performance of her hit song "I Will Always Love You" by Jennifer Hudson.