NASSAU, Bahamas – Four grave sites that Anna Nicole Smith bought in a humble Bahamas cemetery look likely to become a new tourist magnet now that the former Playboy playmate will be buried there next to her son's still unmarked grave.
For now, there is just a patch of sod showing where Smith's son, Daniel, was laid to rest after he died of drug-related causes in September at age 20.
On Thursday, a tearful Florida judge gave custody of Smith's body to the legal representative of her 5-month-old baby daughter Dannielynn, leaving it up to him to decide where she should be buried. But he said he hoped she would be buried alongside her son.
Shortly after the ruling, attorney Richard Milstein said she would be buried next to Daniel in the Bahamas. Milstein was appointed by the court last week to represent Dannielynn's interests for this case only.
Smith's finally resting place had been in dispute since her death Feb. 8 in Florida at the age of 39 from causes that are still under investigation. Smith's estranged mother Virgie Arthur wanted her buried in her native Texas, while Smith's most recent boyfriend, Howard K. Stern, wanted her laid to rest in the Bahamas.
Arthur plans to appeal Thursday's ruling.
An attorney for Smith's estate, Wayne Munroe, said she bought Bahamas funeral plots for four people — Daniel, Dannielynn, Stern and herself.
Stern said Smith's will did not say where she wanted to buried, but he testified this week in court that she wanted to be laid to rest in the Bahamas.
Arthur is also challenging Stern for custody of Dannielynn, who is at the center of a three-way paternity suit. Stern is listed as Dannielynn's father on the birth certificate, but Smith's ex-boyfriend, photographer Larry Birkhead, claims the girl is his.
Dannielynn has been in the Bahamas since before her mother's death.
A closed-door custody hearing to establish guardianship of the baby took place Thursday in Nassau before a Supreme Court judge but there was no decision and it was scheduled to resume Monday. The hearing was in response to Arthur's attempt to seek guardianship of Dannielynn. There was no mention of DNA testing to determine paternity.
Tourists have already begun coming to the Lakeview Memorial Gardens & Mausoleums cemetery since Daniel was buried there in October, and local tour operators say the site could soon become even more of a tourist attraction.
If the former reality star is buried at the cemetery, tour operators would likely include it as an attraction, said Rosco Welch, secretary of the Bahamas Taxi Cab Union.
"The only interesting person at Lakeview right now is Daniel Smith, but we've been having quite a bit of tourists ask where he's buried," Welch said.
Many drivers are already offering to show tourists Smith's waterfront residence, he said.
Cemetery employee Tamita Barr said dozens of journalists have visited Lakeview Memorial since Smith died.
"From the day the lady died there have been reporters," Barr said. "We don't stop them from coming, and we don't really know what drives them to come."
Some 1,500 people have been buried at Lakeview Memorial, one of two private cemeteries on New Providence island, since it opened in 1999. A double plot costs $3,700, and the cemetery shows signs of an unfinished expansion, including a large patch still waiting to be covered with grass.
Until now, no celebrities are counted among those buried there, only "common people of the Bahamas," Barr said.
Daniel Smith was buried at Lakeview Memorial after he died Sept. 10 while visiting his mother in the Bahamas after she gave birth to her daughter. A private pathologist concluded he died from a combination of methadone and antidepressants.