SANTA MARIA, Calif., Feb. 16, 2005 — -- Shortly after a hospital announcement saying he remained under observation for "persistent viral symptoms," Michael Jackson left Marian Medical Center, two sources inside the facility told ABC News.
One of the sources, a hospital visitor, saw Jackson being escorted out of the building by a hospital administrator.
An ABC News producer saw two black sport utility vehicles back into a loading dock, pause for about 10 seconds, then race away.
The departure came about 45 minutes after Dr. Todd Bailey of Marian Medical Center, in Santa Maria, Calif., said the pop star was still being treated for his flu-like symptoms.
"Mr. Jackson continues to be in stable condition and remains under observation at this time," Bailey said. "He continues to need care for some persistent viral symptoms but is otherwise in good spirits."
Jackson's trial on child molestation charges was suspended Tuesday after he became ill on his way to court.
Jackson faces trial on charges he molested a now-15-year-old boy who spent time at his Neverland ranch. The boy is believed to be the cancer survivor who appeared with the singer in the 2003 British documentary "Living With Michael Jackson." Jackson, 46, has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges that include felony conspiracy with 28 overt acts involving child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.
Earlier today, Jackson was seen waving from the window of his room. His parents, Joe and Katherine Jackson, and brother Jermaine Jackson visited him.
One fan made it through to Jackson's door disguised in scrubs but was removed by the star's personal security, ABC News has learned. Another admirer, a transplant recipient who visits the hospital weekly, was rebuffed before he could make it to the fourth floor. He told ABC News he was surprised by the high-security atmosphere in a place that is typically more relaxed. "They even checked my ID," he said.
With jury selection on hold until next week, Santa Maria residents are left to mull over what transpired in court Monday, when Jackson's defense team revealed a star-studded list of potential witnesses that included Diana Ross, CBS reporter Ed Bradley, Jay Leno and Stevie Wonder.
At the Starbucks, locals fretted that the defense's celebrity-laden list will encourage more Jackson fans to flock to their town.