- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 22, 2007

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Anna Nicole Smith will be buried in the Bahamas, alongside her dead son, it was announced yesterday after a tearful judge left the decision up to the attorney for the former model’s baby daughter.

Richard Milstein, the court-appointed lawyer for 5-month-old Dannielynn, announced the plans not long after a judge gave him control of Mrs. Smith’s final resting place. He gave no time frame for the burial.

“Who is entitled to custody of the remains of Anna Nicole Smith?” Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin wrote in his ruling. “There can be only one proper and equitable answer to that question: Dannielynn, Anna Nicole Smith’s only child, heir and next of kin.”

The ruling came a full two weeks after Mrs. Smith died at a Florida hotel at age 39 of still-undetermined causes.

Mrs. Smith’s estranged mother wanted her buried in her native Texas, while Mrs. Smith’s boyfriend wanted her laid to rest in the Bahamas.

The judge, who choked up frequently and sometimes blubbered as he explained his decision, compromised and gave custody to Mr. Milstein. And the judge made it abundantly clear what he felt should be done.

“I want her buried with her son in the Bahamas,” he said through tears. “I want them to be together.”

Mrs. Smith’s companion, attorney Howard K. Stern, had been hunched over a table with his hands folded as he listened to Judge Seidlin’s ruling and wiped away tears afterward. Mrs. Smith’s mother, Virgie Arthur, covered her eyes.

Outside court, Mr. Stern joined Mrs. Arthur and Mrs. Smith’s former boyfriend, photographer Larry Birkhead, before dozens of reporters, and they pledged to work together on funeral arrangements.

“It’s a family affair. You guys can go home,” Krista Barth, the attorney for Mr. Stern, told reporters.

Mrs. Smith’s mother planned to appeal the judge’s order, said one of her attorneys, Tom Pirtle.

Mr. Milstein was appointed by Judge Seidlin last week. He works for the Miami office of the Akerman Senterfitt law firm. He has 30 years of experience and specializes in guardianship, probate and mediation, the firm said.

The dispute over the burial was one of many surrounding Mrs. Smith. Mr. Stern is listed as Dannielynn’s father on the birth certificate, but Mr. Birkhead said the girl was his. A California judge is handling the paternity case.

The judge began yesterday’s hearing with a long diatribe, saying Mrs. Smith’s relationships with her mother and Mr. Birkhead soured because of overuse of prescription drugs, and referred to Mr. Stern as “maybe an enabler.”

“We have Stern. Is he a bad guy or is he a fellow that has some form of a love for her? We don’t know,” Judge Seidlin said. “Whatever relationship he had with her, he would be called maybe an enabler.”

Mrs. Smith, Playboy magazine’s 1993 Playmate of the Year, married Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II in 1994 when he was 89 and she was 26, and she had been fighting his family over his estimated $500 million fortune since his death in 1995.

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