Jenni Rivera's family awaits word as DNA samples taken
Mexican authorities were performing DNA tests Tuesday on what are believed to be the remains of singer Jenni Rivera as her brothers arrived from Los Angeles to survey the plane crash scene.
Officials told reporters in Mexico that it could take days to confirm whether the remains are those of Rivera. Her plane crashed Sunday soon after takeoff.Rivera's brothers said they still hold out some hope Rivera is alive but said they are prepared for the worst.
"We still have hope that she's alive," Pedro Rivera Jr., the singer's brother, told the Press-Telegram. "It's a 95% chance that she's dead, but we have that belief because we don't have a body. They found clothes."
"If God doesn't come through, he is still the one who gives us life," he added.
Scores of fans held a vigil outside the home, some singing Rivera's songs and tearfully mourning her apparent death.
"I think it's a nightmare. It can't be true," one fan told KCBS-TV Channel 2.
"We love her songs, we love her music. We will never forget her," fan Claudia Lopez told the station.
Fans gathered Monday morning at her Encino home. Candlelight vigils were held Monday night in Long Beach and Corona.
"She was the Diana Ross of Mexican music," said Gustavo Lopez, an executive vice president at Universal Music Latin Entertainment, an umbrella group that includes Rivera's label. Lopez called Rivera "larger than life" and said that based on ticket sales, she was by far the top-grossing female artist in Mexico.
Rivera had performed a concert in Monterrey, Mexico, on Saturday night — her standard fare of knee-buckling power ballads, pop-infused interpretations of traditional banda music and dizzying rhinestone costume changes.
At a news conference after the show, Rivera appeared happy and tranquil, pausing at one point to take a call on her cellphone that turned out to be a wrong number. She fielded questions about struggles in her personal life, including her recent separation from husband Esteban Loaiza, a former major league pitcher whose career included a stint with the Dodgers.
"I can't focus on the negative," she said in Spanish. "Because that will defeat you. That will destroy you.... The number of times I have fallen down is the number of times I have gotten up."
Hours later, shortly after 3 a.m., Rivera is believed to have boarded a Learjet 25, which took off under clear skies. The jet headed south, toward Toluca, west of Mexico City; there, Rivera had been scheduled to tape the television show "La Voz" — Mexico's version of "The Voice" — on which she was a judge.
The plane, built in 1969 and registered to a Las Vegas talent management firm, reached 11,000 feet. But 10 minutes and 62 miles into the flight, air traffic controllers lost contact with its pilots, according to Mexican authorities.
The jet crashed outside Iturbide, a remote city that straddles one of the few roads bisecting Mexico's Sierra de Arteaga national park. Wreckage was scattered across several football fields' worth of terrain. An investigation into the cause of the crash was underway.
-- Adolfo Flores