Tomi Rae Hynie, who claims to be James Brown’s fourth wife, says she stood in front of his open casket and mourned one more time before DNA samples were taken from the late soul singer’s body.
Lawyers for Brown’s trustees wanted DNA samples to help sort out several paternity claims made against the singer since he died Dec. 25 at age 73. His body is being held at an undisclosed location.
Hynie told The Associated Press that she viewed Brown on Thursday. The visit was the intimate farewell she didn’t get during two funeral services in December.
“We had a saying that his father, Papa Joe, used to say when he would win playing dice. He would say, ‘Us win’ to James,” Hynie said Friday. “So, I was praying and I said, ‘Us win, baby. We are going to put you in the ground and you’re going to get some rest finally, at last.”’
Hynie refused to say when or where Brown would be buried, but said it was something she “had been fighting for all along.”
“I’m very happy we’re coming to a resolution with the family on that,” she said. “He was my life ... and I miss him very much.”
A few of Brown’s children and a funeral director also viewed Brown on Thursday before the court-ordered DNA samples were collected.
Hynie wouldn’t say whether a paternity test will be needed for her son, who wasn’t included in Brown’s will. Attorneys who handled the will told the AP the child may be entitled to some of the estate, but a paternity test would be needed.
Attorneys for the singer have said Brown and Hynie weren’t legally married when he died because she was married to another man when they said their vows.
His children are in charge of his burial, Brown attorney and trustee Buddy Dallas said. “If I had a say in it, it would have already been done,” Dallas said.
A telephone message for David Yount, an attorney for Brown’s children, wasn’t immediately returned Friday.
Charles Reid, manager of the C.A. Reid Funeral Home in Augusta, Ga., said he was ready to bury his friend.
“It needs to be done and that way it will put everything to rest hopefully,” said Reid, who handled Brown’s funeral.