Katherine Jackson's family feud: Custody battle over Michael's children amid grandmother's absence
Michael Jackson's children appears to be at the center of a family custody battle, linked to a feud over the late singer's estate, and could soon be reunited with their grandmother and legal guardian, Katherine.
An unidentified family member reported the 82-year-old family matriarch missing over the weekend. She was later found to be in Arizona with other relatives. Jackson's daughter Paris, 14, has been posting Twitter messages about her grandmother's absence. She Tweeted on Tuesday: "9 days and counting ... so help me god i will make whoever did this pay (sic)."
ABC News reported on Tuesday, July 24, that a court-appointed child advocate met with Paris and her brothers Prince and Blanket on Monday night and that court papers are likely to be filed later this week to demand that Katherine be allowed contact with them. A temporary guardian for the children would also likely be requested, the outlet said.
The news comes amid an ongoing dispute between the family and the executors of the late King of Pop's estate, which is reportedly worth $1 billion. Jackson's entire fortune was left to Katherine and his children. Several family members, including Janet, Randy, Tito and Rebbie, had written and signed an undated letter to the executors claiming that the will is fake. Tito said on Tuesday he was retracting his signature.
Police were called to Katherine's Los Angeles-area home, where Jackson's children live, to investigate a report about a physical disturbance between two people, who were unidentified. No arrests were made. ABC News said siblings Randy, Jermaine and Janet Jackson showed up and apparently tried to take Michael Jackson's kids away. TMZ posted paparazzi photos of who appeared to be Janet and Jermaine arguing outside the house.
"Jackson family members ran up to Michael's children as they yelled and began to aggressively grab at the cellphones in their hands," Katherine's lawyer, Sandra Ribera, said in a statement. "Out of concern for the well-being of Prince, Paris, and Blanket Jackson, the children were forced to temporarily leave their home and (were) taken to a safe location."
Katherine has not commented about the situation. She was seen smiling in a photo that shows her sitting at a table with her daughter Rebbie and other family members while playing Uno at an Arizona resort.
The picture was posted on the paparazzi website X17Online on Monday night.
Paris received Tweets of support from fans and her cousin TJ Jackson, son of Jackson's brother and Jackson 5 band member Tito. TJ and his three brothers released music as the pop trio 3T in the 1990s.
"@ParisJackson I know it's completely unfair for them to do this to you and your brothers," he said. "We will keep trying. I love you."
"The executors of Jackson's estate, John Branca and John McClain, said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press that they "acutely concerned about the welfare of Mrs. Jackson, and most particularly with Michael's minor children."
"We are concerned that we do what we can to protect them from undue influences, bullying, greed, and other unfortunate circumstances," they added. "While we do not have standing to directly intervene, we have monitored the situation and will continue to do so. We believe measures are being put in place that will help protect them from what they are having to deal with."