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Who Sold Whitney Houston’s Open Casket Photo?

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When an open casket photo of Whitney Houston was published in the National Enquirer after her death, her fans, family and friends were appropriately outraged. Although Houston’s family was too disgusted to investigate the matter further, Whigham Funeral Home launched their own look into the matter — and it appears they’ve narrowed it down to one shady character.

Forbes reports that an employee of the funeral home witnessed Raffles van Exel, a notorious Hollywood hanger-on, taking the photo at the singer’s services. Van Exel was the only non-family member to join sister-in-law (and executor to Houston’s will) Pat Houston in her car to Whitney’s memorial services. Keep in mind, Pat Houston told Oprah that she didn’t care who took the photo. Is she trying to cover something up?

Van Exel had his own bodyguard with him, and he traveled with Houston’s family on a private plane from Los Angeles to New Jersey. He was in one of Houston’s suites the night she died and was seen sobbing once her body was found … But still made it to Clive Davis’ party the same night. Reports also say that van Exel’s been sued numerous times, and used to pall around with Michael Jackson.

Other than the employee’s eye witness account, there’s no concrete evidence that Van Exel snapped the shot, his reputation precedes him: He’s been sued numerous times under a few different names and actually created a video teaching Average Joes how to con their way into Hollywood circles. It’s easy to see why outsiders would suspect van Exel of leaking the photo.

In any event, whoever leaked that picture will have to live with that for the rest of his or her life. We’re not sure that’s worth the money.

Watch Raffles van Exel Teach About ‘The Art of the Con’

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