"I was holding onto my phone, because obviously I was trying to call my husband back, and all these notifications started popping up on my phone."
NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna 'Gigi' Bryant died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. Kobe and Gianna were headed to the Mamba Academy for a basketball practice session when the crash occurred. But, hours before his wife even got official confirmation of her husband's demise, she was getting notifications on her phone about Kobe's death, per CNN.
Four months after the incident, the basketball player's wife, Vanessa Bryant sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and other agencies for emotional distress, per E! Online, alleging that the first responder at the site took and shared unauthorized images of the human remains from the accident that day.
On October 12, 2021, Vanessa gave a deposition for the case, and a transcript of her words was filed in court on October 22, 2021. She testified that on the morning of the crash, around 11:30 am, their family assistant knocked on their door and said there was an accident with five survivors, and did not know if Kobe and Gianna were okay. Trying to be optimistic, she hoped that her husband and daughter were among the survivors.
She tried to reach out to her husband, just to make sure they were okay, but she couldn't get through. But soon, notifications on her phone started flowing in, all reading "RIP Kobe."
"I was holding onto my phone, because obviously I was trying to call my husband back, and all these notifications started popping up on my phone, saying 'RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe,'" Vanessa said.
Even then, she revealed that authorities told her they couldn't tell her anything over the phone and that she would have to drive an hour and a half to a police station in Malibu, the closest one to the crash site. Once she made it there, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told her that her husband and daughter were among the nine people that died due to the crash. When the officer asked her if there was anything he could do for her, she requested him to protect her husband's and daughter's privacy, even in death.
"And he says, 'Is there anything I can do for you?' And I said: If you can't bring my husband and baby back, please make sure no one takes photographs of them," Bryant said, according to the deposition transcript. "Please secure the area. And he said: I will."
Vanessa said the sheriff later told her, "All is good. The area is secure. There's an umbrella over the area." However, the sheriff's department has declined to comment on the pending lawsuit.
Vanessa, meanwhile, revealed that she personally has not seen any photos of her husband's and daughter's remains.
She further added that the clothes that Kobe and Gianna wore during the crash are in her possession, because "I had to recover all their items because I know people are sick and would like to take pictures of them and share them."
"They suffered a lot," she added about Kobe and Gianna. "And if their clothes represent the condition of their bodies, I cannot imagine how someone could be callous and have no regard for them or our friends, and just share the images as if they were animals on a street."
Now, Vanessa said she is seeking "accountability," adding, "No one should ever have to endure this type of pain and fear of their family members. The pictures getting released, this is not okay."
Per BBC, she also added, "My life will never be the same without my husband and daughter." It's never easy to get over the loss of a loved one, is it?
Cover Image Source: Instagram | Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant)