News Column

Documents Sought in Plane Crash That Killed Jenni Rivera

Jan. 3, 2013

Jennifer Delgado

Jenni Rivera
Jenni Rivera

Relatives of a makeup artist who died last month in a plane crash with Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera have asked the court to force the aircraft's manufacturers to turn over any documents that show who repaired and maintained it before its final flight.

Jacob Yebale, a California resident, was aboard the small jet with Rivera and five others when it crashed Dec. 9 in northern Mexico, according to a petition for discovery filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court. The Learjet 25 nose-dived 28,000 feet before crashing into the mountains near Iturbide, Mexico, leaving no survivors.

Yebale's relatives want Learjet Corp. and Bombardier Aerospace Corp. to hand over records showing who operated and repaired the aircraft before and at the time of the crash. The plane was designed and manufactured by Learjet, which was later acquired by Bombardier, according to the petition.

The companies could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening. The petition was filed in Cook County because Bombardier does substantial business in Illinois.

An executive at the firm that owns the plane told the Los Angeles Times last month that the 1969 Learjet was properly maintained and that the crash may have happened after the 78-year-old pilot suffered a heart attack.

Rivera first gained fame for her banda music, a Mexican regional style heavy on machismo and brass instruments. A rare woman in the genre, Rivera often sang -- in Spanish and English -- about her chaotic personal life: three husbands, five children and struggles with her weight and domestic violence.

Rivera sold more than 20 million albums and, in recent years, had started to expand her business empire. She had a weekly radio program, clothing and cosmetics lines, and a hand in several reality shows, including "I Love Jenni."

The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.



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