In a ceremony punctuated by screams and cries, reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith attended the funeral of her son in the Bahamas, nearly six weeks after he mysteriously died while visiting her in the hospital where she had given birth to a daughter.
A gold-coloured hearse brought the body of 20-year-old Daniel Smith to the cemetery. The mahogany casket was whisked inside a large green tent for the service. Wailing and screaming was heard from inside.
“The only thing I can tell you is it’s going (on) now,” Deborah Cartwright of Lakeview Memorial Gardens & Mausoleums, the cemetery in Nassau, said.
The 38-year-old former Playboy playmate, who gave birth to a daughter three days before her son died at her hospital beside, attended the service, said Loretta Butler-Turner, director of the undertakers hired by the family.
Three white limousines followed the hearse to the cemetery. Baptist Bishop Neil Ellis conducted the service.
At least six police officers guarded the main entrance to the cemetery, barring everyone except invited guests. Other officers in uniform and plain clothes stood outside the tent. A small crowd of Bahamian onlookers gathered just outside the cemetery.
Daniel Smith died the morning of September 10 after spending the night at the hospital with his mother and newborn half-sister. An American pathologist hired by Anna Nicole Smith said Daniel Smith died from a lethal combination of methadone and two antidepressants.
Bahamas chief magistrate Roger Gomez said yesterday that police had not yet submitted a report on their investigation. Authorities will evaluate that report and the pathologist’s conclusions to decide whether a jury inquest is necessary. Official toxicology results have not been publicly released.
The coffin left the funeral home in a van but was transferred en route to the hearse “to honour the wishes for privacy of the family”, Butler-Turner said.
Daniel Smith, who appeared on US reality series The Anna Nicole Show, was the son of Anna Nicole and Bill Smith, who married in 1985 and divorced two years later.
Earlier this month, about 50 family and friends, including Bill Smith, gathered at a church in Mexia, Texas, to mourn Daniel’s death.
Anna Nicole Smith married Texas oil tycoon Howard Marshall in 1994, when she was 26 and he was 89. He died the following year and she has since been involved in legal disputes over the estate.