The investigation into the "highly suspicious" fire that gutted the Long Island home owned by 50 Cent – but occupied by his ex-girlfriend and their son – is lingering because the rapper has not been interviewed by investigators, sources tell ABC News.
A fire official said investigators have not been able to conclude the investigation partly because the hip-hop star, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, has not met with the arson squad. The official said attempts have been made through Jackson's attorneys to meet with him, but that he has not scheduled an interview.
"We interview every owner of every structure that goes on fire," said the official. "It's standard procedure."
Another source with information about the investigation said he was told Jackson's unavailability is holding up the case, although the source did not know why Jackson has been unavailable. There is no deadline requiring Jackson to meet with investigators.
Jackson's attorney, Brett Kimmel, would not comment on the fire investigation. When asked if ABC News could speak to any of Jackson's other representatives about this, Kimmel said, "No one will be speaking about that."
Fire officials still expect to speak with Jackson.
At the time of the fire, Jackson was in Louisiana filming a movie. His publicist released a statement saying he "expressed deep concern over this fire at his property. He is extremely thankful that everyone including his son, Marquise, escaped the burning house safely. He is confident that authorities will be conducting a thorough investigation of the incident and is eager to review their findings."
But while investigators wait to speak to him so that they can work towards concluding the case, Jackson has been making the New York social rounds. ABC News found sightings of "Fiddy" in New York City in recent months including July 14, when he attended the celeb-studded Vitaminwater Celebrates in Style event in midtown; July 1, when he was in concert at the Nokia Theatre; June 30, when he appeared on MTV's TRL show in Times Square; and June 7, when he performed at a pre-Puerto Rican Day Parade celebration.
"It's my understanding that he has been around," said Paul Catsandonis, attorney for Jackson's ex-girlfriend Shaniqua Tompkins. "He just recently had visitation with his child, so he's been in the area."
Catsandonis said that even if Jackson is at his home in Connecticut, it's still close enough to Long Island to meet with investigators, and said that his client is anxious for Jackson to cooperate with the investigation.
Attorneys for Jackson, 33, and Tompkins, 32, were set to spar off Tuesday morning in Manhattan court regarding what Jackson can do with the prospective insurance proceeds from the home and the property. Jackson is fighting a temporary motion that bars him from collecting insurance proceeds from the home, which have not yet been doled out, or selling the real estate. The meeting has now been adjourned until Sept. 4 because the judge wasn't ready to hear the case.
"She has no case," said Jackson's attorney of Tompkins. "There would be no difference to her if the house was sold. She wants money."
But Catsandonis said a preliminary injunction is necessary so that his client isn't left with nothing.
"We're claiming we have an ownership interest," Catsandonis said. "We want constructive trust placed over the insurance proceeds and over the real estate until the conclusion of the case."
Lawyers for both sides expect Judge Carol Edmead to make a decision Sept. 4.
The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office is working with the arson investigation squad. A Long Island fire chief told ABC News this development came in mid-August but that the case still hasn't been solved.
"I think they're on to something, but they can't make an arrest without something tangible," the chief said. Neither the DA's office nor the arson squad has indicated that they have a suspect or are close to making an arrest.
The fire occurred in the early morning of May 30, destroying the multi-million dollar home in the Long Island neighborhood of Dix Hills. Tompkins and her son with Jackson, 10-year-old Marquise, escaped the blaze along with four others staying at the house. They were reportedly taken to the hospital and released after being treated for smoke inhalation.
The fire was referred to the arson squad because of its intensity and who the property belongs to, fire officials told reporters at the time, while Tompkins immediately pointed the finger at Jackson.
"I know this came from 50 Cent," Tompkins told reporters. "I know he did it."
She and Jackson had been involved in a contentious dispute over the home, and Tompkins had filed a lawsuit against the hip-hop star, claiming that he promised her the house years earlier and that he was now trying to force her and their son out. The suit was still pending at the time of the fire.
Jackson has rejected accusations that he was in any way involved with the fire. His attorney, Kimmel, released a statement saying, "Any suggestion that Mr. Jackson had anything whatsoever to do with the fire at his home is outrageous and offensive."
He also filed a $20 million defamation suit against Tompkins, claiming that her allegations are false.
On Monday, 50 Cent was named Forbes.com's 2008 Hip-Hop Cash King as the industry's top-earning hip-hop star, bringing in $150 million over the past 12 months. Born in Jamaica, Queens, he has admitted that he used to deal drugs in his pre-stardom days and has a rap sheet from the 90's for possessing drugs.
According to court documents, Jackson and Tompkins began dating in 1995, a relationship that continued for 13 years. Tompkins moved into the Dix Hills home in January 2007. After an incident ensued between the parties the following month, Jackson began proceedings to evict Tompkins, their child together and her child from a previous relationship from the home.
A Suffolk Housing Court judge granted an order of eviction, which Tompkins fought. On May 14, Judge Edmead granted Tompkins' petition to stay eviction from the house until further court review. Two weeks later, the home burned down.
Jackson and Tompkins are set to meet again in family court in Central Islip, Long Island Sept. 8 over an order of protection that had previously been granted to Tompkins after Jackson allegedly threatened her. Tompkins was granted the restraining order in June.
Jackson's attorney Kimmel released a statement in response to the order, saying that outside of courtrooms and lawyers' offices, Jackson had not seen or spoken with Tompkins in a year and a half.
"The petition is little more than a tactic and a vindictive response to the petition Mr. Jackson filed seeking an order holding Ms. Tompkins in contempt of court for refusing to permit him to be with his son," Kimmel said.
Megan Chuchmach is a 2008 Carnegie Fellow at ABC News.