Jenni Rivera vigil keeps growing as family plans memorial
Fans of Jenni Rivera continue to stream into the Lakewood neighborhood of her family, which is planning memorial services for the singer.
For five days straight, fans have come by the home to pay their respects and add to a growing memorial. On Friday night, more than 100 people stood outside the home sharing memories.
Rivera, 43, a mother of five and master of a growing international business empire, was killed when a jet crashed early Sunday morning near Iturbide, Mexico. Six others, including two pilots, also were on board.
"Soon we will have a ceremony in which fans can say goodbye to my sister," her brother Juan Rivera told the Spanish news agency EFE. The service could be as early as Tuesday.
Her brothers landed at Long Beach Municipal Airport on Thursday night with Rivera’s remains after Mexican authorities confirmed she had been on the plane. The remains were later taken to All Souls Cemetery and Mortuary in Long Beach.
Her brother Lupillo Rivera on Friday tweeted, "Jenni mission accomplished, you're home."
Fans have continued to gather outside her family’s Lakewood home, dropping off flowers and balloons in tribute to the diva of banda music. Rivera had sold more than 20 million albums and launched her own makeup line and perfume.
Balloons, pictures, flowers, handmade posters and candles surrounded a small tree at the front of the home. Fans gathered at the curb, some adding to the collection of items on the memorial and taking pictures.
Other fans drove past, playing and singing Rivera’s music, pausing by the site to take photos.
“I loved her songs; they were about love, her sufferings and good times,” Gonzalez said. “We didn’t know her as a friend. But through her songs, you, as a woman, identified with her,” Gonzalez said, holding her 3-year-old son.
She said she came to Lakewood because she wanted to have one final memory of the star.
Driving slowly and stopping by to take video of the memorial site, Francis Ubeda of Long Beach said she came to say goodbye.
“She inspired me,” Ubeda said. “Despite her sufferings, she fought hard to move past them.”
Authorities told Mexican media that "victim's belongings" were found at the homes of two officers who arrived at the crash site. The Associated Press reported that one of the officers allegedly took graphic photos of the crash site, including of body parts.
Mexican authorities and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board were continuing to investigate the crash “to formulate a hypothesis as to the cause of the accident,” the statement said, noting that the investigation could take nine months to a year to be concluded.
The same plane, according to U.S. aviation records, sustained “substantial” damage in 2005 when a fuel imbalance left one wing tip weighing as much as 300 pounds more than the other. The unnamed pilot, despite having logged more than 7,000 hours in the air, lost control while landing in Amarillo, Texas, and struck a runway distance marker. No one was injured.
-- Ruben Vives, Adolfo Flores and Scott Gold
Photo: Items left by fans form a memorial for Jenni Rivera, the Mexican singing superstar, outside her mother's home in Lakewood. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times