On Wednesday The National Enquirer published one of the last known photos of Bobbi Kristina Brown, lying in bed at Peachtree Christian Hospice center in Georgia. In the image featured on the cover of the tabloid, Bobbi Kristina is shown unconscious, in a hospital gown.
A source close to the family tells FOX411 “the families are livid” about the photo, which was reportedly auctioned off for more than $100,000.
“They are indeed exploring legal action if only to find out who did it,” the insider said.
Entertainment lawyer Julian Chan explained that Bobbi Kristina had a total right to privacy and was violated in an illicit way.
“The family can sue for invasion of privacy, as well as for trespass for entering the room to take the picture,” Chan said. “They can also sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress, since-- as you can imagine-- a picture like that especially in a printed magazine [would cause distress].”
According to the insider, after the photo was first reported to have been snapped, all of the Browns –except for Bobbi Kristina’s dad Bobby— were prohibited from visiting the daughter of the late Whitney Houston. Whoever took the photo was one of the few on the approved visitor list at the hospice center, the insider explained.
The 22-year-old died July 26 in hospice care, about six months after she was found unresponsive in a bathtub in her Atlanta home.
The National Enquirer also ran photos of Bobbi Kristina's casket and her family at the funeral.
It is still a mystery as to who took the hospice center photo and Chan points out that a criminal charge could potentially be brought.
“For example, if a doctor took the pictures and sold them to The National Enquirer, that could be a breach of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996)and criminal charges might be possible,” he explained.
When Whitney Houston passed away three years ago, The National Enquirer pulled a similar stunt and ran a photo of Houston in her casket at her funeral, sparking outrage. For their latest issue, the tabloid reprinted the years-old photo of Houston in her casket alongside the hospice center snap of Bobbi Kristina.
On August 3, Bobbi Kristina was buried next to her mother at the Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, N.J.
You can follow Blanche Johnson on Twitter @blancheFOXLA.