- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 1, 2007

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The wrangling over Anna Nicole Smith’s body appeared to end yesterday when her mother’s attorney said she would not stand in the way of the model’s burial in the Bahamas later this week.

Tom Pirtle said last night that Virgie Arthur would not challenge a Florida appeals court ruling yesterday that cleared the way for the burial.

“It’s going to be difficult to appeal the ruling, so we’re not going to appeal,” Mr. Pirtle said.

Mrs. Arthur had fought last week’s ruling from Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin that gave control of her daughter’s body to an advocate for Mrs. Smith’s 5-month-old daughter, Dannielynn. Mrs. Arthur had wanted to bury Mrs. Smith in her home state of Texas.

But Mrs. Smith’s longtime companion, Howard K. Stern, argued that she had wanted to be buried in the Bahamas next to her 20-year-old son, who died last year of apparent drug-related causes. The 4th District Court of Appeal agreed.

The trial court concluded that Mrs. Smith’s “last ascertainable wish” was to be buried alongside her son.

“This finding is not essentially disputed,” the appellate judges said in their ruling.

Mrs. Smith’s body has been stored at a medical examiner’s office since shortly after she died Feb. 8 at 39. A cause of death has not been determined.

Lawyer Richard Milstein, the baby’s advocate, said that the funeral was set for tomorrow.

He declined to comment further, saying he wanted to “uphold the decorum and dignity that should be maintained throughout this process, for the sake of Dannielynn and the memories she will have of her mother’s funeral.”

Wayne Munroe, the Bahamian attorney for Mrs. Smith’s estate, said yesterday’s ruling by the Florida court was “common sense.”

“Everyone in this whole saga knows what her wishes were about every aspect of her affairs — custody, property, everything. But people are steadfastly trying to get their wishes met and not hers. Nobody seems to care about this woman’s wishes.”

It was not immediately clear when the body would be moved.

Mrs. Smith married Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II in 1994 when he was 89 and she was 26. The Playboy Playmate and reality TV starlet had been fighting his family over his estimated $500 million fortune since his death in 1995, and her baby daughter could inherit millions.

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