Whitney Houston's Body Released To Family in New Jersey
From CBS News:
The plane carrying Houston left Los Angeles late Monday, Reuters reports.
Houston's family raised the possibility of holding a wake Thursday and funeral Friday at Newark's Prudential Center, an arena that hosts college and professional sport events and seats about 18,000.
Even though the pop icon's body has been released, the investigation is far from over. The Beverly Hills Police Department says the case is now out of their hands.
From USA TODAY:
"As of right now and this date, it's a coroner's case," said police Lt. Mark Rosen. "It's a normal investigation for someone of her age who would have died in this manner."
Lt. Fred Corral, of the investigations division of the Los Angeles County Coroner's office, said a "pending" certificate of death was issued, allowing release and burial. He said the body was taken from the coroner's office, where an autopsy was performed Sunday, to be returned to her family in New Jersey.
Assistant chief coroner Ed Winter said there were bottles of prescription medicine in Houston's hotel room. He would not give details except to say, "There weren't a lot of prescription bottles. You probably have just as many prescription bottles in your medicine cabinet."
The death certificate will be updated with an official cause of death once all toxicology testing is completed and analyzed, Corral said. Test results will take eight to 10 weeks, he said.
He called the tests, and the time period, "normal procedure."
Experts agreed, saying that there were several factors going into getting Houston's toxicology results.
The Los Angeles Times reported:
Several factors may be involved, experts said. The main issue may be a big backlog of cases, said Dr. Doug Rollins, professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City: “Funding to most of these labs has been decreased,” he said, “so they don’t have the staff to handle that large of a caseload.”
Then there are the tests themselves. The lab could testing for one substance or hundreds, and for each one there could be tests of blood, tissue and urine.
The testing itself, Rollins said, is sophisticated and complex. Screening tests, he added, are typically followed up with specific analytical tests that can take anywhere from two to three days. If several substances are tested, that can add up.
“Let’s say they’re testing for aspirin,” he said. “They’ll first do a test of the blood to see if aspirin is present, then do a specific test for aspirin and measure the amount that’s there and quantitate it.”
“Once the testing is done there’s a review process,” said Michael Hensen, chief technical operations officer at Pacific Toxicology Laboratories in Chatsworth. “That could delay the results as well. There may even be a delay in getting started as they decide what they’re going to test for.”