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With Whitney Houston autopsy done, body will be flown to Atlanta


Whitney Houston’s family is free to collect her body from the Los Angeles County coroner’s office and make funeral arrangements, a coroner’s lieutenant said Monday morning.

Houston’s mother has arranged to have the body flown back to Atlanta as early as Tuesday, TMZ reported. While police have placed a security hold on autopsy results, no such hold has been placed on the body, Winter said.

The coroner has no further need for the body, said Lt. Joe Bale, adding that the autopsy has been completed. “There’s no reason it couldn’t be released to the family today,” Bale said of the body.

The same is not true for results of the autopsy, which were placed under a security hold on the orders of the Beverly Hills Police Department.

The body of the 48-year-old Houston was found in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hilton hotel Saturday, hours before she was to attend a pre-Grammy Awards party.

The celebrity news website Monday quoted family sources as saying that coroner’s officials told them Houston did not drown, but appears to have died from the effects of a combination of alcohol and prescription drugs, including the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.

Coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter told reporters at an early-morning news conference Monday that he spoke to family members and never communicated the information reported by TMZ.

But he stopped short of denying it, suggesting it may have come from someone affiliated with Beverly Hills police.

“”You can look at a body and not know what the cause of death is,” Winter said. “You might have a suspicion, but the person could have suffered a heart attack, or an embolism or something; and no matter what medications they’re taking, until we run (toxicological tests) and see the level, and what’s in the system, we’re not going to speculate.”

Houston’s body was discovered in the bathtub by her aunt, Mary Jones, who began administering CPR, TMZ reported. Jones, who about 30 minuts earlier had laid out on the bed the dress Houston was going to wear at Saturday night’s party, went into the bathroom because Houston was not coming out, according to TMZ.

The body had been removed from the bathtub before Beverly Hills firefighters arrived, Winter said.

Winter said blood and urine samples taken from Houston’s body are being subjected to toxicology testing. Toxicology results usually take six to eight weeks to obtain–two to three if they are rushed, Bale said.

In other developments, Houston’s ex-husband, Bobby Brown, arrived at LAX Sunday night to attend to 18-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, who visited the emergency room at Cedars Sinai Medical Center this weekend–twice, according to local news reports, suffering from stress and anxiety.