Jenni Rivera's generosity to needy honored; memorials planned
A week after singer Jenni Rivera's death in a plane crash in Mexico, a Long Beach group held a special tribute for her.
A procession of fans continued to hold a vigil throughout the weekend outside the Lakewood home of Rivera's parents, with family members coming outside to greet them. A growing collection of tributes stands in front of the home. They continued to come even amid cold weather and rain.
On Sunday, California Families in Focus, a nonprofit family services group based in Long Beach, gave Rivera a special award to recognize her generous donations over the years to the group.
"To have Jenni recognized like this is very cool," her cousin, Nancy Alvarez told the Long Beach Press-Telegram. "It's amazing to see how many people she touched. She gave back to the community."
Rivera, 43, a mother of five who oversaw 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.
It is believed there may be more than one memorial, and that one will probably occur in the Long Beach area. Another may be held in Mexico.
Her brothers arrived at Long Beach 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 been 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.
As Rivera's remains were positively identified Thursday, two police officers were arrested in the alleged theft of items from the site of the plane crash.
Authorities told Mexican media that the "victim's belongings" were found at the homes of the two officers. 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 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 wingtip 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.
-- 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