BACK TO Knowledge Base

James Brown’s Grave Dispute


Tomi Rae Hynie, who claims to be Brown’s widow and the mother of his youngest child, is contesting claims made by several of the singer’s children from other women. Ms Hynie also claims that Brown’s body, already buried after a public funeral was then exhumed, possibly so that a Paternity Test could be carried out. But Charles Reid, of the C A Reid Funeral Home, in Augusta, Georgia, says that the body — put on display for emotional fans — is being kept in a sealed coffin in a temperature-controlled room at Brown’s home in Beech Island, Georgia.

Who is The Father?

Ms Hynie insists that she was legally married to Brown after he hired her as a backing singer a decade ago, and bears his last name. The couple have a five-year-old son named James. When she married Brown, however, Ms Hynie was already married to a Pakistani immigrant seeking US citizenship, which was later declared void, but it has cast some doubt on her alleged relationship with the singer. After the couple rowed on an aircraft in July 2003, Brown took out a full-page advertisement in Variety announcing their break-up, but Ms Hynie insists they continued living together.

Paternity Test – Drug Rehabilitation

When Brown died Ms Hynie was away in a drug rehabilitation programme for addiction to painkillers following the recent death of her father. She says they had last spoken shortly Brown was admitted to hospital and he told her: “Baby, I love you.”

“He had a big surprise for me. And the big surprise was that we were going to renew our vows,” she said on TV, but returned to Brown’s estate with her son to find they were locked out.

Paternity DNA Test – Disowned by Family

She claims that two of Brown’s three daughters, Deanna and Yamma, have deliberately excluded her from the family, after they stopped her from speaking at the service in Augusta.

Lawyer Demands a Paternity Test

Brown’s lawyer is demanding a DNA paternity test on Ms Hynie’s son, James, who is now living with his mother in the Los Angeles mansion of Athena Kottak, the sister of Mötley Crüe drummer, Tommy Lee. Ms Hynie has agreed to the paternity test but has suggested that the other children should also undergo paternity DNA tests.

Paternity Test – Buried at Last

It now lies with the trustees of Brown’s estate, along with Brown’s children, to determine where the singer will be buried. Debra Opri, a family lawyer, insisted that Brown had “died a single man” and said that the trust would ensure that his estate becomes a museum, like Elvis Presley’s Graceland home.