NASSAU, Bahamas – With a feud over Anna Nicole Smith's resting place resolved by a Florida court, judges in the Bahamas were preparing to take up disputes over custody of the late model's 5-month-old daughter and ownership of her waterfront residence.
A private hearing to determine guardianship of the girl, Dannielynn, is expected to resume Monday with appearances by Smith's estranged mother, Virgie Arthur, and the former Playboy Playmate's boyfriend Howard K. Stern.
Arthur is seeking to take custody of Dannielynn from Stern, who is listed as her father on the birth certificate. Arthur's attorneys in the Bahamas said they would argue in court that she can provide a more stable home than Stern.
Arthur and Stern missed the opening hearing Thursday because they were in court in Florida, where Smith's body was ordered to the Bahamas for burial. A gag order prevented attorneys from the two sides from publicly discussing the proceedings.
The judge in the case has barred Stern from taking the infant out of the island nation until a custody ruling.
A separate hearing Monday, also at the Bahamian Supreme Court, is to consider a claim from G. Ben Thompson, a South Carolina developer who once dated Smith, who says he owns the gated mansion where she was living, according to Thompson's Bahamian attorney, Godfrey Pinder.
Pinder said Stern would have to vacate the house immediately if his client wins the verdict. "He's occupying the house illegally," he said.
Thompson says he lent Smith money for the house, known as "Horizons," but she did not honor an agreement to pay the debt. Smith's camp has said the house was a gift.
A nanny has been caring for Dannielynn at the mansion during Stern's time in Florida. The hearing in Fort Lauderdale ended Thursday with a decision to bury Smith at a Nassau cemetery beside her son, Daniel, who died last year while visiting her days after she gave birth to Dannielynn. Arthur wanted to bury Smith in her native Texas.
A dispute over who is the girl's father also has yet to be resolved. Smith's ex-boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, says he fathered the girl. A California judge is handling the paternity case.
In an apparent bid to cover two possible jurisdictions, Birkhead also brought his case to the Bahamas on Thursday. His local attorney, Emerick Knowles, filed a motion in the Supreme Court claiming paternity, even though Birkhead has not sought custody of the baby.
Smith, who moved to the Bahamas during her pregnancy last year, died Feb. 8 at a Florida hotel. The cause of death is under investigation.
An inquest in the Bahamas into the death of Daniel Smith, 20, is scheduled to begin March 26 in Nassau. A private pathologist concluded he died from a combination of methadone and antidepressants.