Following the completion of an autopsy on the 48-year-old diva on Sunday, Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter of the Los Angeles County coroner's office said that Houston's body was released to her family on Monday. CNN reported that Winter believed Houston body was then transported to the Van Nuys, California, airport, where it was loaded onto a jet.
An unidentified source said to be close to the "I Will Always Love You" star said that the plan was to fly the remains to Houston's native New Jersey, where a funeral service was planned on either Friday or Saturday.
The New Jersey Star-Ledger reported that an unnamed local community leader in Newark, New Jersey, said the funeral service could be modeled on the farewell to Michael Jackson and is being tentatively scheduled for Friday at the 18,500-seat Prudential Center in that town.
The arena is the largest venue in the area and could accommodate much larger crowds than the more modest red brick New Hope Baptist Church, the nearby house of worship attended by Houston when she was a child.
As the investigation into Houston's death continues, Winter attempted to tamp down speculation that an overdose of prescription medications played a role in her demise. He said that "not many prescription bottles" were found in the Beverly Hilton hotel room after Houston's death and that the amount of medications recovered were less than are usually present in deaths attributed to overdoses. "I know there are reports that she maybe was drowned or did she overdose, but we won't make a final determination until all the tests are in," he said.
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