In 2004, Us Weekly reported that Jackson did, indeed, acknowledge that he was the father. A source told the magazine: "Jackson has told his closest associates Omer's mom's was a Norwegian with whom he had a one-night stand."
An ex-Jackson associate who requested anonymity told ABCNews.com he remembered Bhatti from his days at Neverland.
"He was this kid who fawned over Michael Jackson on a trip overseas, so he became one of Michael's 'little friends,'" the former associate said. "When Michael met a new friend the parents often come along. His parents worked at Neverland for a while. It wasn't Michael's kid. This elaborate 'Billie Jean' scenario is ridiculous. Don't you think he would turn up in the will?"
Bhatti became a Jackson impersonator.
"Nobody called him Omer, they called him Michael J.," said Brown. "Ever since he was a little boy he would make himself up to look like Michael. They would wear the same -- hat, pants, shoes, even socks. Michael loved it."
Now he's an aspiring rapper who goes by the stage name O-Bee.
He also has remained a staunch defender of Jackson. Bhatti was living at Neverland when Los Angeles police raided the estate in 2003 looking for evidence of child molestation.
An investigator later testified before a grand jury that Bhatti became nervous when he was asked about pornography.
He "seemed to have trouble forming a sentence. It was almost like a stutter," the investigator, Jeffrey Ellis, said on the stand.
Ellis testified that when he questioned Bhatti about the consumption of wine and alcohol, referred to as "Jesus Juice," he saw "that same type of uneasiness in him that I noticed when I started talking to him about pornography."
Last year, Bhatti recalled the day police swooped in.
"It was totally sick. It was the whole squad from Santa Barbara Police Department," he told a reporter. "We didn't know why they were there. Michael was not at home."
Ultimately Bhatti appeared only on the defense's list of prospective witnesses.
After Jackson returned to Neverland following his arrest, the family held a welcome home party with "Soul Train" host Don Cornelius and comedian Tommy Davidson, Brown said Bhatti was there.
"He walked with the family -- they had a little procession -- and he sat up front with the family next to the stage," Ellis said.
There were other kids like Bhatti who lived and traveled with Jackson. Brett Barnes toured the world with the pop star, sleeping with him almost every night, as his sister testified to at Jackson's child molestation trial. But none of the kids seem to have stuck around as long as Bhatti.
Maybe that's why he had a front-row seat with Jackson's family at the singer's memorial.
"It was a rightful place for him," said Brown. "He grew up around Michael and really had a bond with him."