As cruisers from the Westfield and Union County police departments came and went through the front gate of the Fairview Cemetery Thursday, Fairview officials were issuing "no comments" to a barrage of calls from reporters seeking comment and details about the burial plans for Whitney Houston — and calming down concerned family members of those already interred in the Westfield cemetery.
Houston's funeral service will be held at noon Saturday at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark. The ceremony is expected to draw 1,500 mourners, including her mother, Cissy Houston, cousin Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Kevin Costner and Clive Davis. While those details appear to be firm, speculation swirls around when Houston's body will be laid to rest.
Area residents who have relatives buried at the 105-acre East Broad Street cemetery expressed concern for their loved ones' graves, as celebrities and paparazzi are expected to swarm the area.
They have "no need for concern," according to a receptionist at Fairview Cemetery. The integrity of the plots is always of the utmost concern, she added.
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, the Westfield Police Department could not confirm whether or not they had been advised that the late pop diva would be entombed at Fairview, or if additional patrols will be dispatched to the area during the private invitation-only funeral. The funeral will be available for viewing via the Internet.
Houston's family is considering burying her at least one day after the funeral, according to NJ.com.
This morning, a receptionist at Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, which is handling the funeral arrangements for the family, also declined to comment on where and when the singer would be laid to rest.
"That's confidential," the receptionist said. "I've been advised not to answer that."
Houston's body was discovered on the afternoon of Feb. 11 in a bathtub in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, just hours before she was scheduled to attend a pre-Grammy Awards function. The official cause of death has not yet been released.
The late singer's body was flown from Los Angeles to Newark on Monday night. A hearse then transported Houston to the funeral home, where services for her father were held in 2003.