LaRhonda Pettit, biological daughter of the late soul singer James Brown, claimed today that her father’s body was missing. It had been left in the care of Brown’s legitimate daughter Deanna Brown Thomas after the singer’s death in 2006, in preparation for its installation in an as-yet unfinished tomb, and somehow Pettit got word it had disappeared. Pettit has harbored suspicions about her father’s death, and had hoped to get an autopsy performed, which its claimed disappearance obviously would preclude.
Much humor ensued in the press (“Brown is now the Gone-father of Soul!”). But Brown family spokeswoman Elif Crawford — who, when we told her about the claim this morning, seemed surprised — sent us a statement that says it’s nonsense.
“The family of James Brown is sadly disappointed about the false allegations of their father’s body missing from his crypt since burial,” says the release.
“The daughter of James Brown, Deanna Brown Thomas, states, ‘The rumors of our dad’s body missing is not true and do not know where Ms. Pettit would have received such information; however the Brown family do ask that the media respect our privacy.At an appropriate time his fans and spectators around the world will be able to visit a memorial fit for the ‘God-Father of Soul.'”
Pettit was determined by DNA test to be Brown’s offspring, but she was not mentioned in his will and has not received an inheritance from the estate, disposition of which has been extremely contentious.