June 30, 2009— -- A memorial for Michael Jackson will be held at Neverland Ranch, the pop star's crumbling Xanadu-like estate replete with zoo and amusement park, but which Jackson abandoned years ago in the wake of child molestation charges, law enforcement sources said.
Jackson's body will be moved to the ranch and a memorial service will likely be held there Friday, according to the sources and published reports.
The funeral, however, will likely not end speculation as to how Jackson, 50, died.
Police still have questions for Dr. Conrad Murray, the cardiologist who administered CPR to Jackson before he was taken to the hospital. Murray will not attend the funeral, the doctor's lawyers told ABC affilaite KTRK.
Following the lead of family matriarch Katherine Jackson, the family has hunkered down at their California home, rarely speaking with the media. Some family members, as well as police, have been seen entering the Holmby Hills rental home where Jackson died.
Katherine Jackson, 79, "has always had the quiet hand," the Rev. Al Sharpton told "Good Morning America" today.
Sharpton, who has known the family for more than three decades and has spent time with the Jacksons since Michael Jackson's death last week, described Jackson's mother as a "rock."
Jackson died Thursday after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest at his rented Los Angeles home. Though some close to him have said he was addicted to the painkillers OxyContin and Demerol, a lawyer for his Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal physician, said the doctor had not prescribed either of those drugs for the pop icon.
Though the family's grief is palpable, Sharpton said, there is "a spirit of 'We've got to move on and protect Michael's legacy.'"
And that legacy includes three young children, now in the custody of their grandmother.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff ruled that, at least for now, Katherine Jackson would get custody of his three children, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., known as Prince Michael, 12; Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson, 11; and Prince Michael Jackson II, 7.
Beckloff also made Katherine special administrator of the property pending a hearing July 6.
The judge's ruling did not cover Jackson's financial assets, which includes his stake in the Sony-ATV Music publishing catalog. The catalog contains legendary music from the Beatles, and Bob Dylan, as well as new acts such as the Jonas Brothers. Its worth has been estimated at as much as $2 billion.
A hearing to consider those requests has been scheduled for Monday.
A source confirmed that Jackson drafted a will in 2002 and the document will filed in court as early as Wednesday. Longtime Jackson attorneyJohn Branca and John McLain, a friend and music executive, are the named executors.
Jackson, according to the source, bequeathed everything he owned to his mother Katherine, three children, and charitable organizations.
Sharpton said one of Katherine Jackson's biggest priorities is going to be getting her three grandchildren acclimated to the scrutiny that comes from being Michael Jackson's children.
"They're fine," Sharpton said of Jackson's daughter and two sons. "They seem at home. They are at home."
Sharpton said that despite reports to the contrary, the Jacksons are a close-knit family who have always rallied around their most famous member.
"I think they've always operated as a family," he said, adding that strife within the Jackson clan has always been exaggerated. "At the lowest point in Michael's life when he was on trial, it was his mother and father that walked with him out of that courtroom every day."
But things seemed to be looking up for Jackson, professionally, in the months before his death. Though many speculated he would not be physically capable, Jackson, friends and colleagues have said, was looking forward to his 50-concert "This Is It" show in London.
There was something almost magical about Jackson's last rehearsal, according to lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe, who said in a BBC radio interview that "it was almost like he couldn't stop himself."
Even though "he was frail you might say," Woodroffe said, he remembered something "extraordinary" happening when Jackson took the stage around 9 p.m. Tuesday.
"Suddenly he was performing as one had remembered him in the past," he said.
While Woodroffe said he didn't know if Jackson would have been able to do all 50 concerts, "there was a sense he would have done it."
"He was an odd person, he was a different person," Woodroffe said, "but my view is you always judge people as you find them."
Who Else Will Fight for Jackson's Children?
Debbie Rowe, Jackson's ex-wife and mother of the two oldest children, Tuesday had her attorney issue a statement that indicates she may eventually file her own request for custody.
"Debbie remains grief stricken. Her thoughts are with the children and all the Jackson family," the statement read. "To the extent she must respond to court proceedings that were started by others, she will of course do so at the appropriate time."
In a press conference in Los Angeles Monday, Jackson's father, Joe Jackson, said custody of his grandchildren should not go Rowe or Grace Rwaramba, Jackson's former longtime nanny.
"This is where they belong ... we love those kids ... we're going to take care of them," Joe Jackson said.
Katherine Jackson's custody petition cited the reason she should become the guardian: "Minor children are currently residing with paternal grandmother. They have a long established relationship with paternal grandmother and are comfortable in her care."
The petition also stated that the children have "no relationship with their biological mother." And that it is "not known" whether the mother agrees that Katherine Jackson should be guardian. As for the mother of Prince Michael II, known as Blanket, a box is checked for "none."
Asked about Rowe, Joe Jackson said, "Debbie Rowe has nothing to do with what we're doing."
Joe Jackson said Rwaramba, who Michael Jackson fired in December, was still "a good friend of the family and the kids." He said the family is looking into what role she can have in the kids' lives.
Grace Rwaramba, 42, worked for Jackson for nearly two decades, starting as an office assistant who handled insurance for his employees.
Over time, observers said Rwaramba had taken an increasingly central role in the lives of Jackson and his children. Jackson and Rwaramba were even rumored to be considering marriage in 2006. In 2008, she testified in Jackson's defense during a breach-of-contract suit brought against the singer by a Middle Eastern sheik.
In an interview over the weekend with The Times of London, Rwaramba said she routinely had to pump out Jackson's stomach after he'd ingested too many drugs. The paper noted that Rwaramba and Jackson had a falling out.
"I had to pump his stomach many times. He always mixed so much of it," Rwaramba told the Times, referring to drugs. "There was one period that it was so bad that I didn't let the children see him. ... He always ate too little and mixed too much."
According to Rwaramba, Katherine Jackson told her, "Grace, the children are crying. They are asking about you. ... Where are you? Come. I will pick you up from the airport."
Mark Lester, the children's godfather, has said he would be willing to adopt the children but doubted the family would let him.
"If called to do so. Of course I would. Michael has a large family. I'm sure the children will be well looked after. ... This is early days here. I extend my arms out to them, but they're American kids and I'm sure the family network will have put something in place," said Lester, who is British.
"The kids were everything to Michael. They were his whole life," Lester added.
More Evidence Taken From Jackson's Home
Workers from the Los Angeles County coroner's office returned to Michael Jackson's home Monday afternoon, retrieving medication and other evidence for their investigation of how the pop star died.
Ed Winter, the assistant chief county coroner, said that based on information obtained by the Los Angeles Police Department, his office had more questions about the medications in Jackson's home.
The investigation will continue for four to five weeks and will include extensive testing, he said.
"The family has been extremely cooperative," he said.
Members of the Jackson family have expressed doubts about the coroner's investigation, and Monday Joe Jackson said he would wait for private autopsy results before burying his son.
"We're not ready for that," he told the press about a funeral. "We don't have the time frame for that. ... We want to see how the second autopsy comes out."
On Monday, the promoter that runs the London arena where Jackson was scheduled to perform 50 concerts announced that it would offer full refunds to people who bought tickets to the shows.
AEG Live, the promoter, said that fans can also receive the concert tickets as souvenirs, but then they would not receive full refunds.