February 21, 2012 13:05
Police turn away fans from Whitney Houston's grave
Would-be mourners told to leave to avoid crowd-congestion
Police are turning away Whitney Houston fans from her grave, according to reports.
NBC says that New York police offers will be patrolling Houston's final resting place at the Fairview Cemetery in New Jersey, after officials became alarmed at the number of people who wanted to pay their respects at the late singer's grave.
According to authorities, continuous groups of up to 12 people were visiting the cemetery yesterday (February 20) until 3pm, when it was decided that only visitors with relatives buried inside the grounds were allowed access. Would-be mourners for Houston were told to move on, and police will now patrol the graveyard around-the-clock for the next month.
Law enforcement sources claimed that some of Houston's relatives were upset and had left the cemetery when they discovered that the grounds were open to the public, while other people visiting their own friends or family were turned away the day after Houston's funeral (February 19). One of them, Jeff Latawiec, said: "There could have been ways that we could have visited our loved ones without interfering in their grieving process, which I can understand and respect 1,000 per cent."
However, cemetery officials insisted that they had been forced to close the area as the ground was too soft to accommodate such large crowds.
Houston's funeral took place at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey over the weekend (February 18) and included performances from Stevie Wonder, R Kelly and Alicia Keys.
Her ex-husband Bobby Brown left the service in dramatic fashion 20 minutes after arriving, before climbing into a waiting SUV outside and being driven away. According to reports, he later returned to the ceremony by a side door.
Houston passed away last Saturday (February 11) at the age of 48, after she was discovered underwater and unconscious in a bath at a hotel in Beverly Hills. Though it has been widely reported that she died as a result of an overdose of Xanax and other prescription drugs mixed with alcohol, police have said it may take up to eight weeks for her cause of death to be formally confirmed.
A police spokesman has said that although prescription drugs were present in the singer's room, reports that they were involved in her death were still only "rumours and speculation".
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