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Photo Has Authorities Focusing on Spears

February 08, 2006|Richard Winton | Times Staff Writer

A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy went to the Malibu home of Britney Spears on Tuesday to collect information for child welfare investigators after photos showing the pop star apparently driving with her infant son on her lap began appearing on websites.

Spears, 24, said that she was trying to escape paparazzi and that she held the baby because she feared for his safety.

The photos, by a celebrity photographer, show Spears behind the wheel of an SUV with her 4-month-old son Sean Preston on her lap instead of strapped into a rear car seat as required by law.

Spears said in a statement that the photographs were taken during a "horrifying, frightful encounter with the paparazzi." She said she "instinctively took measures" to protect the baby.

A source close to Spears said that paparazzi confronted the singer near a Malibu Starbucks and that she made the two-minute trip home with her child in a state of panic.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Diane Hecht said deputies went to Spears' home to collect information for the county Department of Family and Children Services. Hecht referred further comment to the agency responsible for child welfare, which does not comment on investigations.

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