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Jenni Rivera remains return to Long Beach following family identification

December 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
In a sorrow-filled return to her California home, a Mexican registered jet landed at Long Beach Airport Thursday night carrying the remains of superstar singer Jenni Rivera, a musical treasure to fans who bought 15 million records.

Throngs gathered through the evening at her family's Lakewood home. The Diva of Banda music, an idol who crossed cultural lines.

Leaving the jet was Rivera's brother, Lupillo, who had shouldered the grim task of identifying her body among six others who perished in the plane crash. Other family members and close friends joined in support to greet him at a private terminal.

Separately her remains were taken to All Souls Cemetery and Mortuary in Long Beach, her hometown.

The family then returned to Lakewood, where fans hailed the return with cheers and with tears.

"We're here to celebrate in honor of Jenni Rivera," said fan Carlos Avila. "Because she means a lot to us and a lot of people here. She's a fighter."

The family's pastor earlier told the crowd that the family is thankful for the support and pledged that when there is a funeral, it will be open to the public. There was also word that two separate services would be held in the U.S. and Mexico for fans in each country.

A plane carrying Rivera and six others plunged more than 28,000 feet in a nose dive on Sunday. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Meantime, two Mexican police officers were arrested on suspicion of stealing items from the crash scene. But officials aren't saying what they stole. The Nuevo Leon state government also said images of the scene were found on a smartphone belonging to one of the officers. The images were discovered during an investigation into how the Mexican media obtained photographs of the secured scene.

The officers belong to a new state police force designed to be more effective and less corrupt.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.