“Would you kindly safeguard the location if you are unable to bring my babies back?” At the station, Vanessa recalled telling Villanueva.
Three days later, on February 27, 2020, a Los Angeles Times piece revealed claims about photo-sharing among first responders.
During her testimony, the bereaved mother stated, “I trusted them not to do these things,” and said that she was upset with the sheriff’s office and the fire department for not alerting her to the sharing of the photos.
Kobe’s body was located the day after the accident, but Gianna, a basketball player with the Mamba Sports Academy who aspired to play in the WNBA, was discovered in a gully the next day.
In a scene that brought tears to everyone’s eyes in the courtroom, Vanessa accused emergency workers of “taking advantage that her daddy wasn’t there to protect her” by reportedly photographing and sharing photographs of Gianna’s body.
She stated, “He was in the morgue.”
Vanessa also remembered the day she found out about Kobe and Gianna’s murders. She claimed that at around 11:30 that morning, when Kate, the family’s helper, kept knocking on their door, she first felt something was wrong.
Bryant said, “She had an extremely hostile tone. Before bringing her in, she called Kobe but didn’t get a response. Once inside, Kate entered and inquired about the whereabouts of the females and the presence of other people. “I have some news to share,” Vanessa claimed that the assistant informed her, and it was the moment she first discovered that a helicopter had crashed. Nobody was aware of any survivors at the time.
Natalia accompanied Vanessa to a nearby airport where they attempted to board a helicopter to fly to Calabasas but were unsuccessful owing to inclement weather. Vanessa claimed that she had phoned her mother to monitor her two youngest girls. Vanessa received calls from friends and notifications on her phone saying “RIP Kobe” as they traveled to the crash site.
She finally made it to the Lost Hills Sheriff Station, which is close to the crash scene. They were led into a little space in the back.
“I entered and enquired as to their location. I inquired frequently. She cried as she described how they just looked at me. Who are they? What is their location?
Vanessa claimed that in the weeks that followed, she stayed home, choosing to “take each day as it comes.”
On February 24, 2020 (2/24), she made her first public appearance since the incident during a public tribute for crash victims held at Staples Center, now Crypto.com Arena. The date was selected because Kobe wore No. 24 in his later years of his career, and Gianna wore No. 2 on her basketball uniform.
Vanessa remarked, “I simply had to get through 2/24 and then I could start the grieving process.”
Vanessa claimed that she had made an effort to keep her “mental toughness” up. But for the first time in her life, she has also gone through periods of sadness, anxiety, and panic attacks.
She repeated that she had never experienced a panic attack before and that her suffering had been made worse by her worry of the photographs being made public. “I never want to see my babies in that situation,” the person said.
Chris Chester, whose wife Sarah and daughter Payton, 13, also perished in the collision, admitted that the idea of the pictures spreading to social media is giving him concern.
When asked why she pursued the lawsuit, Vanessa was frank in her response. Together, they are suing the county.
During her testimony, she declared, “I’m willing to go to hell and back to obtain justice for my husband and my daughter.
Vanessa mentioned Kobe and Gianna and stated she still prays for them both every night.
All a mother wants to do, she continued, “is protect her offspring.”
Gianna was described as having “the nicest heart” and being “my sunshine” by Vanessa.
She said, “[Gianna] was competitive, witty, and thoughtful.” She belonged to her father.
Vanessa added that Kobe loved being a father to their girls and that when he came home, his renown for competition was left at the door.
To some, he was this well-known and adored icon, but to Vanessa, he was simply Kobe, her father. “He was aware that he was not in charge. They outnumbered him. I’m happy handling business on the court, he said. You are in charge here.
Vanessa responded, “He is still my best friend,” when asked if Kobe was her best friend.