Jett Travolta, who suffered from autism, was only 16 years old when he suffered a seizure and died during a family vacation in the Bahamas during the New Years break in 2009.
The tragedy left Travolta, 66, and his wife Kelly Preston, 57, devastated but their grief was marred by rumors and suspicion, which ultimately led to a court case that hit the headlines.
Travolta and Kelly celebrated New Years in their luxurious vacation home at the Old Bahama Bay Hotel on Grand Bahama Island with their 16-year-old son Jett and their eight-year-old daughter Ella Bleu.
Jett, who had a history of seizures, collapsed in the bathroom and hit his head before being pronounced dead at Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport.
The teenager, who would have required constant surveillance, was reportedly found unconscious on the floor by a maid who sounded the alarm at the hotel reception.
After the tragedy, the family was plagued by rumors of the level of care that Jett had received on the day of his death, with concerns expressed about their dedication to Scientology.
Speculation suggests that the controversial church does not recognize conditions such as autism, and this could have played a role.
The rumor mill went into high gear when it later emerged that Travolta had gone to the police claiming he had been the victim of a £ 20 million blackmail plot.
The actor alleged that he had been targeted Tarino Lightbourne, the ambulance driver called to care for Jett and his lawyer Pleasant Bridgewater.
Lightbourne said Travolta and his team were concerned about the circumstances surrounding Jett’s collapse and ordered him to fly to a medical center in Florida rather than the hospital in 15 minutes.
They both denied the extortion charges and were tried later this year.
During the trial, it was alleged that he and his lawyer demanded millions from the star in exchange for the return of a compensation form signed by Travolta.
The form would show that the actor refused to send his son to the local hospital for treatment, but then changed his mind and allowed Jett to be taken to the nearby medical center.
However, as the dramatic trial neared its end and the jury was dispatched to deliberate – the family received another blow when the judge ordered a new trial.
It came after a Bahamian politician was broadcast on television and said that one of the accused had been found not guilty – before the verdict was actually delivered.
A new trial has been scheduled, but another surprise came when Travolta decided to close the case.
The Hollywood veteran, who had spent millions on legal fees, announced that he did not want to return to the Bahamas to testify a second time and insisted that the family continue.
In a statement, he explained, “The status of this case, which has been pending for a long time, continued to weigh heavily on my family, which led us to conclude that it was finally time to leave this case behind us. .
“Therefore, after long reflection, I concluded that it was in the interest of my family not to voluntarily return to the Bahamas to testify a second time at trial. “
The charges against Lightbourne and Bridgewater were later dropped.
Lightbourne then went into details of what happened on Jett’s death in an interview with the Daily Mail, alleging that there was a 15-minute delay in the call to emergency services.
He also said surprisingly that Jett had been dead for some time before the paramedics arrived.
Lightbourne claimed that a doctor, who had performed an operation near the complex, was at the scene, and said that Jett had fallen “a few minutes” before the ambulance team got there, but he did not disagreed.
He said, “The boy’s eyes were fixed and dilated, I noticed patches of dry blood around his ears and nostrils and on the sides of his mouth … and the body was already in a state of rigor mortis .
“It usually starts about three hours after death.
“With my back to the other people in the room, I whispered to the doctor,” This boy is dead. Why don’t you call him [pronounce death]? “
“Dr. Fernandez said,” I know – just continue with CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation]. “”
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Lightbourne assumed that a party had taken place and Jett had been left unattended and was not found for several hours after falling and hitting his head.
No further details of Jett’s last day have been released, an autopsy report has not been released, and an investigation has not been opened into his death.
The body was cremated in the Bahamas shortly after his death and then returned to the family’s native Florida.
John and Kelly then welcomed a third child, his son Benjamin, a year after Jett’s death.