Whitney Houston's death: New details emerge

CBS/AP

The death of Whitney Houston remains under active investigation by the Beverly Hills Police Department, but her body was released Monday to her family.

Houston's journey back home began in a van carrying her body from the Los Angeles County morgue. Then it was put on a private jet for the flight to New Jersey, where Houston grew up singing in a church choir.

Late Monday evening, the aircraft landed at Teterboro Airport. Later, it was brought to a New Jersey funeral home, where many fans turned out to say goodbye.

Complete coverage: The death of pop diva Whitney Houston

Back in Los Angeles, many unanswered questions remain. Beverly Hills police insist they are treating Houston as they would any unexpected fatality in this privileged community. "It's what we deem to be a death investigation," says Lt. Mark Rosen. "It is not prompted by her celebrity or notoriety."

But her celebrity is leading to plenty of rumors. The website TMZ obtained photos of the remains of a room service meal, said to be Houston's last. It included both beer and champagne, along with a burger and a turkey sandwich.

Law enforcement sources have confirmed to CBS News that prescription drugs were also found in the room, creating speculation that a mixture of drugs and alcohol could have contributed to her death.

Kevin Frazier, co-host of The Insider says Houston had an interview scheduled when her assistants became worried she was still in the bathtub. "Just before the 911 call went out, they were banging on the door, trying to get in, to get to Whitney," he says.

She was found unconscious by a hairdresser and a bodyguard. "The hairdresser and a bodyguard pulled her out of the bathtub," says Frasier, "put her in the room, and she told her niece and her niece immediately tweeted it out."

That message on Twitter from the hairdresser's niece said, "My Aunt Tiffany, who work for Whitney Houston, just found Whitney Houston dead in the tub." It was the first the world would hear of Houston's death and came just 20 minutes after paramedics gave up trying to revive her.

Editor's note: Houston's family was said to be considering Newark's Prudential Center as the setting for a funeral service at the end of this week. It can hold 18,000 people. But The Associated Press reports the funeral home says no wake will be held and there will be no public memorial at the Prudential Center.

  • John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.

Comments