Bahamas to ensure careful autopsy of Travolta's son


Published: Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 3, 2009 at 10:52 p.m.

FREEPORT, Bahamas - The Bahamas will use two pathologists to ensure a careful autopsy on John Travolta's son, who died at the actor's vacation home in Grand Bahama, the territory's health minister said Saturday.

Dr. Hubert Minnis told The Associated Press that he decided to use a second specialist to guarantee a thorough assessment of what might have caused 16-year-old Jett Travolta's death.

Meanwhile, John Travolta is trying to finish funeral arrangements and hopes to fly his son's body to Florida by midweek, said Michael McDermott, the actor's corporate and commercial attorney.

Travolta, 54, and his wife, actress Kelly Preston, 46, have a house north of Ocala.

"It's heart-wrenching," McDermott said. "If you knew how much he loved that boy ... It was almost palpable. It was that strong."

Jett was found collapsed in a bathroom on Friday after having a seizure and hitting his head on the bathtub, said a police officer who declined to be named because she was not authorized to speak on the matter.

He was taken by ambulance to a Freeport hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police Superintendent Basil Rahming said in a statement.

A U.S.-certified clinical and forensic pathologist from Nassau will fly into Grand Bahama on Monday to help perform the autopsy, Minnis said.

A possible cause of death likely will be known by the end of the day, he said.

The Bahamas is a haven for celebrities and Minnis himself was an obstetrician for Anna Nicole Smith, the former Playboy playmate who died from an accidental drug overdose and is buried in the Bahamas alongside her son.

Security was tight Saturday at the lavish Old Bahama Bay resort community, where Travolta owns a home.

"We are taking great steps to protect Travolta's privacy," resort spokesman Ryan Julison said. "Security is heightened because media is attempting to access the property."

The family arrived on a private plane Tuesday and apparently had invited 60 friends for the New Year's holiday weekend, including McDermott.

It is unclear whether Travolta, a pilot, had flown his family in.

Jett was the couple's oldest child. They also have an 8-year-old daughter, Ella Bleu.

McDermott said that following the death, "Kelly's kind of withdrawn to herself. She's dealing with it in her own way."

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