The waterfront Bahamas mansion where the late Anna Nicole Smith lived with her newborn daughter and her companion has become their home again after the locks were changed twice at the disputed estate.
Anna Nicole Smith's 5-month-old daughter and Howard K. Stern, the man she said was the baby's father, have returned to the gated residence in Nassau, her lawyer Wayne Munroe said Sunday.
Not only is the paternity of the former Playboy Playmate's baby who could inherit a fortune from Smith's late husband in question, but so is the ownership of the mansion.
Smith, who died in Florida on Thursday, had claimed that U.S. developer and former boyfriend G. Ben Thompson gave her the house. But Thompson said he had only lent it to her and on Friday his lawyer had the locks changed.
Stern had the locks changed the next day and has since returned to the mansion.
The baby girl, Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern, also was there, Munroe told The Associated Press. An AP Television News reporter saw Stern's mother enter the white house and another AP reporter saw Smith's mother Vergie Arthur arrive Sunday afternoon in a taxi van that stopped in front of the gates but did not go inside. She left shortly after.
Munroe said he has filed a robbery complaint with police over computer equipment, drawings and paintings allegedly taken from the home after Thompson had the locks changed, and authorities interviewed the housekeeper. Police said Sunday they are investigating.
Munroe said the house now belongs to Stern, Smith's companion.
"Right now, Howard is very happy to be reunited with Dannielynn but extremely angry that somebody had the gall to break into Anna's residence," Stern's spokesman, Ron Rale, said Sunday by telephone from Los Angeles.
Smith, in a lawsuit, had asked a court to recognize her as the owner and reject Thompson's claim on the house in the exclusive neighborhood.
The island chain's Supreme Court has scheduled a Feb. 26 hearing on the matter, Munroe said.
Munroe said authenticating Smith's will could take from a year to 18 months and declined to say who the executor is. He said he has not been advised of funeral plans, but he expected Smith would be buried in the Bahamas alongside Daniel Smith, her 20-year-old son who died here in September under mysterious circumstances.
It was not clear who would get custody of Smith's baby girl, but Munroe said Sunday that she cannot be taken out of the Bahamas without Stern's permission.
Although Stern is listed on a birth certificate as Dannielynn's father, two other men have challenged his paternity.
A former boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, has filed a lawsuit claiming he is the father. On Friday, Prince Frederic von Anhalt, the husband of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, announced that he had a decade-long affair with Smith and may be the girl's father, reports AP.
The New York Daily News also reported Saturday that a manuscript it obtained by Smith's half-sister, Donna Hogan, says Smith froze the sperm of her late 90-year-old husband, Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, before his death and may have used it to become pregnant.
Since Marshall's death in 1995, Smith had been fighting in the courts over his estate. A federal court in California awarded her US$474 million (Ђ364 million), but that was later overturned. In May, the U.S. Supreme Court revived her case, ruling that she deserved another day in court.
Experts say the decision of who receives custody could determine the child's inheritance.
Smith gave birth to Dannielynn on Sept. 7 in a Nassau hospital. Three days later, Daniel Smith died while visiting her in the hospital. A medical examiner hired by the family concluded that he died from an accidental combination of methadone and antidepressants, but results of an official autopsy have not been released. An inquest into his death has been scheduled.
Smith's mother arrived Friday in Nassau to check on her granddaughter, said Reginald Ferguson, assistant commissioner for the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
Arthur told ABC's "Good Morning America" that she believes her daughter died from a drug overdose. Rale, Stern's spokesman, declined to comment on an MSNBC report on Sunday, citing anonymous sources, that said Smith had recently undergone surgical procedures and was taking pain medication.
Ned Bruck, general manager of Reel Deal Yachts in Miami Beach, Florida, said Smith and Stern came to south Florida to take delivery of a 40-foot (12-meter) yacht they had named "Cracker." Stern was on the boat when he received a call that something had happened to Smith, Bruck said.
"He said 'I've got to go,"' Bruck said. "There was a horrible look on his face."