Saturday, 27 June 2009

Jackson family anger mounts, may seek fresh autopsy

The family of Michael Jackson may seek an independent autopsy, it emerged on Saturday amid mounting anger and frustration over the final hours of the tragic pop icon's life.

Jackson's family members were huddled at their family compound in the northern Los Angeles suburb of Encino, where they have been based since the most famous member of their clan died suddenly on Thursday at age 50.

The Los Angeles Coroner's office said Friday a preliminary autopsy on Jackson was inconclusive and a final cause of death would not be known until exhaustive toxicology tests are completed in "six to eight weeks."

Jackson's body was released to his family under cover of darkness late Friday, and was being kept at an undisclosed location, officials said.

Veteran US politican and activist Reverend Jesse Jackson -- who is not related to the family -- told ABC television's Good Morning America that he had spent Friday counseling the family at their estate.

And he revealed that family members were angry and frustrated by unanswered questions surrounding Jackson's death, and were focusing their attention on the role of the singer's doctor, identified as Conrad Murray.

Murray is reported to have injected Jackson with the powerful painkiller Demerol shortly before his death.

Los Angeles police said Friday they intended to interview Murray for a second time after initially speaking to him on Thursday. However Jesse Jackson said the family had a flurry of questions of their own.

"When did the doctor come? What did he do? Did they inject him, if so with what," Jackson said, claiming that Murray had gone missing in the hours immediately following the singer's death.

"His absence raises questions of substance that will not go away until they are answered," Jackson said.

"They (the family) are suspicious of this doctor and they have real reason to be because any other doctor would say 'Here's what happened in the last hour of his life and I was there. I gave him some medicine.'

"He owes it to the family and to the public to say 'These were the last hours of Michael's life and here's what happened.' That's a reasonable expectation."

Asked if the family would seek their own autopsy, Jesse Jackson replied: "I'm sure they ought to, they probably will."

Los Angeles coroners have said Friday's preliminary investigation showed no evidence of "external trauma or foul play" on Jackson's body.

However friends and associates of Jackson took to the airwaves to voice anger over the role of advisers and physicians that surrounded the star.

New age guru and Jackson confidante Deepak Chopra -- a qualified cardiologist -- told CNN bluntly: "I think drugs killed him."

Jackson's former producer Tarak Ben Ammar denounced the doctors around the late pop icon as "criminals."

"It's clear that the criminals in this affair are the doctors who treated him throughout his career, who destroyed his face, who gave him medicine to ease his pain," he said.

The aftermath of Jackson's death has witnessed a worldwide outpouring of tributes and vigils, with stars, world leaders and devotees of the pop icon offering praise to the man who sold more than 750 million records.

Movie icon Elizabeth Taylor said Friday she was "heartbroken" over her close friend's death.

"My heart... my mind... are broken," Taylor said in a statement. "I loved Michael with all my soul and I can't imagine life without him... I still can't believe it. I don't want to believe it. It can't be so."

Fans staged gatherings across the globe, including 10,000 Danish fans who crammed into a square in Copenhagen for a three-hour tribute concert.

A moment of silence was held at 2126 GMT, exactly 24 hours after the announcement of Jackson's death.

On the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, thousands of fans queued for hours in boiling sunshine for the right to file past Jackson's star set into the sidewalk.

Jackson's death led to a stampede on the Internet as fans scoured the web for latest updates on the story.

While Jackson ruled the charts and dazzled audiences with dance moves like the "moonwalk" in the 1980s, his once-stellar career was overshadowed by his startling physical transformation and multiple allegations of child abuse.

He lived as a virtual recluse following his 2005 acquittal on charges of child molestation and plotting to kidnap his young accuser.

Source: TOI