DEA joins probe of singer’s death
LOS ANGELES – A plan to bury Michael Jackson at his sprawling Neverland ranch fizzled Wednesday, leaving details about his funeral undecided as another mystery was solved: His newly unveiled will says his mother should raise his children, or failing her, entertainer Diana Ross.
The investigation into the singer’s death, meanwhile, deepened late Wednesday when the Drug Enforcement Administration was asked to step in by the Los Angeles Police Department, a law enforcement official in Washington told the Associated Press.
The changing funeral circumstances thwarted many Jackson fans who had descended on the estate in the rolling hills near Santa Barbara with the hope of attending a public viewing.
“We’re terribly disappointed,” said Ida Barron, 44, who arrived with her husband Paul Barron, 56, intending to spend several days in a tent.
A person who is not authorized to speak for the family and requested anonymity, said the exemption to bury the singer at the ranch could not be obtained in time for a burial this week.
Jackson’s 7-year-old will, filed Wednesday in a Los Angeles court, gives his entire estate to a family trust and names his 79-year-old mother Katherine and his children as beneficiaries. The will also estimates the current value of his estate at more than $500 million.
Katherine Jackson was appointed their guardian, with Ross, a longtime friend of Michael Jackson, named successor guardian if something happens to his mother. Ross introduced the Jackson 5 on the Ed Sullivan Show in the late 1960s and was instrumental in launching their career.
Jackson’s lawyer John Branca and family friend John McClain, a music executive, were named in the will as co-executors of his estate. In a statement, they said the most important element of the will was Jackson’s steadfast desire that his mother become the legal guardian for his children.
The will doesn’t name father Joe Jackson to any position of authority in administering the estate.
The executors moved quickly to take control of all of Michael Jackson’s property, going to court hours after filing the will to challenge a previous ruling that gave Katherine Jackson control of 2,000 items from Neverland.