Exclusive: La Toya Jackson Opens Up on Family's Grief, Future

La Toya tells Walters: Michael "was the closest thing to a god that I knew."

September 09, 2009, 5:04 PM

Sept. 10, 2009— -- In her first in-depth interview since the death of her brother Michael Jackson, La Toya Jackson opened up exclusively to Barbara Walters about the family's grief.

"I don't think we'll find a person as talented, a person who thought the way he thought. A person with the heart that Michael had," La Toya, 53, told Walters. "People aren't that way anymore. He was special. He wasn't God, but he was certainly God-like. He was the closest thing to a god that I knew."

La Toya, one of Michael's closest siblings, was one of the first one to appear at her brother's bedside the day he died. Since then, the solo artist and model signed her brother's death certificate, became the legal guardian of his body and with the entire Jackson family, planned the funeral and memorial service in Los Angeles.

Watch Barbara Walters's exclusive interview with La Toya on "20/20" Friday at 10 p.m. ET

Michael was laid to rest in a private ceremony last week, nearly two months after his death, at the iconic Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, Calif. La Toya told Walters that her brother looked "absolutely fabulous."

"He was dressed in all white pearl beads going across, draped across. A beautiful big gold belt. Like ... Like a belt that you win being a boxer," she said. "Full makeup. ... His hair was done beautifully, his makeup was done beautifully."

According to La Toya, in addition to the stones Paris placed on his chest, the family put sunglasses, an iconic white glove and a few other items in the casket with him.

According to the autopsy, the late King of Pop died of a fatal combination of drugs, including the powerful anesthetic propofol. Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson's personal physician has admitted administering propofol, but has denied giving Michael anything that "should have killed him."

Murray told investigators that he had been trying to wean the singer off propofol by administering a series of other prescription sedatives. When asked by Walters if Murray murdered her brother, La Toya said, "Something went wrong. Something went wrong."

La Toya also addressed reports that Michael's oldest son, Prince, was summoned by Murray the night of his father's death to help resuscitate his father.

"He called Prince ... Prince ... watched him do this, Barbara. And you don't do that to a child. You don't do that to a child, especially when you knew prior to asking that child to come up, that Michael was no longer alive," she said.

La Toya stressed that she believes Michael was dead long before Murray even called for Prince -- but called the 13-year-old in, to "show that [he] had nothing to do with this."

Since Michael's death, the Los Angeles County Coroner's office ruled the manner of death a homicide. The Los Angeles Police Department is continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death. Murray, as well as other doctors known to have prescribed narcotics to Michael, have been questioned.

"I blame any and everybody who was instrumental in Michael's life providing him with drugs because it was wrong. It was terribly wrong," said La Toya. "They're doctors! This is going against their license, Barbara. You don't do things like that."

La Toya: Blanket 'Looks Hispanic'

From the day each of Michael Jackson's three children was born, the identity of their biological father has been questioned.

"It doesn't really matter, those are Michael's kids. He raised those kids," La Toya said. "They were in his arms when they were born; the minute that they were they were right there with him. They only know Michael as their father."

Michael married the mother of his two oldest children, Debbie Rowe, but she has had almost no contact with the children for nearly a decade.

"They know who Debbie Rowe is. Whether or not they know she's their mother, I'm not so sure," La Toya said. "They haven't seen her since he's passed. But they're more than welcome."

Blanket, Michael's youngest child, was born to an unnamed surrogate after Jackson and Rowe divorced. La Toya said that Michael had told her that Blanket is Hispanic.

"I said to Michael, I said, 'He looks Hispanic.' And Michael said, 'He is,'" La Toya told Walters.

In his will, Michael named his mother, Katherine Jackson, 79, as their sole guardian, and in July 2009, she was granted full, permanent custody of the three children. La Toya said that they will continue to be home-schooled, "just the way they were with their dad."

La Toya also talked to Walters about how the kids are coping with the grief.

Silencing rumors that Michael did not want the children around his father, Joe Jackson, La Toya said Michael had made amends with his father and that the kids had a good relationship with their grandfather.

"They love their grandfather," she said. "They ... like the fact that he's very outspoken. And they say that, 'Grandpa, he tells you like it is.'"

Despite the past, she believes Michael would have wanted Joe to be involved in their lives.

Will Diana Ross Raise Michael's Children?

Michael never revealed why, but his will states that if his 79-year-old mother ever becomes unable to care for the children, he wants them to be raised by Diana Ross, 65.

"I know of course that Diana Ross is second in line for the children of course, and mother has spoken to her about things of that nature, but I don't wish to go into detail," La Toya told Walters.

La Toya said that the children don't have a relationship with Ross, or know that she might possibly be the woman raising them. When asked if Ross wants to raise Michael's three children, La Toya responded: "I think my mother knows the answer to that."

Why Michael preferred Diana Ross over his own eight siblings to care for his children was not explained in the will; sister Reebie, who has three children of her own, and has been married for 41 years, could be a candidate to raise the children in the event that their mother is incapacitated.

"There's a possibility. There's a possibility," La Toya said, "She's done a wonderful job with her children."

La Toya asked ABC News to make it known that she was not paid for this interview.

Watch Barbara Walters's exclusive interview with La Toya on "20/20" Friday at 10 p.m. ET

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