Two mysteries surrounding Whitney Houston’s death may now becoming to light. New evidence suggests one man may be responsible for both puzzle pieces, including the origin of Houston’s casket photo.
Raffles van Exel, a celebrity consultant, surfaced today, after he gave an interview to a Dutch publication claiming he was at the Beverly Hilton Hotel when Houston died Feb. 11, and that he removed items from the room.
“The room had to be emptied. Someone had to do it,” van Exel told Dutch newspaper The Telegraph.
Earlier this month, Forbes magazine published a report that an employee at the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, N.J., saw van Exel take the photo of Houston in her casket. The National Enquirer published the photo causing a media uproar.
The Los Angeles County police are investigating the circumstances surrounding Houston’s death, and if van Exel removed items from the room, he could be charged with evidence tampering, a felony.
The LA County Coroner’s Office said cocaine ingestion contributed to Houston’s death. The drug was found in her system indicating she had used the drug the day she died. But no evidence of cocaine was found in her room.
Van Exel did not address the subject of the casket photo, nor was there any information on who supplied her with the drug.
Forbes also reported that van Exel may taken photos of the bathroom where Houston died, and of Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown as she was being wheeled under a sheet on a hospital gurney. The photos were published by gossip site TMZ.com. Bobbi was twice hospitalized following her mother’s death.
Some tabloid editors estimated that The Enquirer could have paid a six-figure sum for the casket photo and others. TMZ likely also paid for the photos it published.
Forbes reported that van Exel traveled with Houston’s family on the private plane that returned her body to New Jersey for the funeral services.