LOS ANGELES – Why was she released?
That's the lingering question after Britney Spears was discharged from the hospital Wednesday over the recommendation of her treating psychiatrist and against the wishes of her father, who has been named as her conservator.
Jamie and Lynne Spears, in a joint statement given to The Associated Press through their attorney, said they were "extremely disappointed" to learn their daughter had been allowed out.
"We are deeply concerned about our daughter's safety and vulnerability and we believe her life is presently at risk," the statement said. "We ask only that the court's orders be enforced so that a tragedy may be averted."
Jamie Spears on Monday was named conservator of his 26-year-old daughter, and he and attorney Andrew Wallet were made co-conservators of Britney's estate.
A conservatorship is created when a court determines a person can no longer care for his or her own affairs.
Though she arrived at UCLA Medical Center escorted by a caravan of police motorcycles, cars and a helicopter, the singer left without media attention. She spent the day dodging the spotlight as she drove around Los Angeles in a black Mercedes-Benz with an unidentified man.
But photographers soon found her and surrounded the vehicle at each stop. More than 15 people circled the car at one point, shooting still photos and video.
At one point the Mercedes pulled into the Beverly Hills Hotel entrance. Beverly Hills police Sgt. Mark Miner said a "keep the peace" detail was sent to the hotel, a common practice when paparazzi are causing a nuisance.
Spears' release came after a series of legal developments in which her father fought for control of the pop star and her estate, her frequent companion was ordered to stay away from her, and her mother vividly described her daughter's fragile state, drug use and the strange behavior that led to her hospitalization.
The troubled singer was hospitalized Jan. 31. On Monday, Commissioner Reva Goetz ruled that Spears must remain in the conservatorship until at least Feb. 14. Goetz also appointed a physician to evaluate Spears' condition.
On Friday, a court issued a restraining order against Sam Lutfi, the man who's been at Spears' side in recent months. Her mother portrayed him as a Svengali-like figure who held her daughter hostage in her own home, drugged her, took over her finances and controlled the paparazzi who constantly surround her.
As her conservator, Spears' father was granted access to all of his daughter's medical records and authority to determine where Spears lives and whom she sees.
Spears, who is in a child custody battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline, was also briefly hospitalized earlier in January after police were called to her home when she refused to return her sons to a Federline bodyguard after a visit.
Spears has since lost all visitation rights to her sons, 1-year-old Jayden James and 2-year-old Sean Preston.
On Wednesday, said Capt. Sharyn Buck, commander of the North Hollywood police station that covers Spears' home area, said a grand theft report was filed with the Los Angeles Police Department, alleging that someone took "miscellaneous items," including a painting and jewelry, from Spears' home. Buck didn't say who filed the report or when.