Jackson’s Body Returning To Neverland

One week after Michael Jackson’s shocking death, the pop icon’s body will be transported to his Neverland Ranch Thursday morning for a public viewing.

CNN is reporting a public viewing will be held Friday at the property, which is located near Los Olivos, Calif., north of Santa Barbara. A private memorial is scheduled for Sunday.

A 30-car motorcade, including Jackson’s body, is expected to travel from Los Angeles to Neverland at 10 a.m. Thursday, according to TMZ.com. E! News reports that the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department is discussing security issues with the California Highway Patrol regarding traffic and crowd control.

Sheriff’s Lt. Butch Arnoldi said MJ’s family has not contacted the department for assistance with a memorial at Neverland but that authorities met today based on speculation over a possible ceremony.

“We have not been contacted by any member of the family or any representative of the family, talking about or requesting any kind of event,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

Photo: AP Photo
During a dress rehearsal at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Jackson purchased Neverland Ranch in 1987, naming it after Peter Pan’s fantasy world.

“I wanted to have a place that I could create everything that I never had as a child. So you see rides, you see animals, there’s a movie theater. I was always on tour traveling, you know, and I never got a chance to do those things. … I can’t go into a park, I can’t go to Disneyland as myself. I can’t go out and walk down the street. There’s crowds and bumper-to-bumper cars. So I create my world behind my gates,” Michael Jackson told “60 Minutes” in a 2003 interview.

“Everything that I love is behind those gates. We have elephants and giraffes and crocodiles and every kind of tigers and lions.”

He told “60 Minutes” the November 2003 raid in search of evidence to back the child-molestation charges against him forever tainted Neverland. Jackson moved out of the property after his 2005 acquittal. The ranch almost went into foreclosure in 2008 but the property was saved through an agreement with Colony Capital LLC, which purchased Jackson’s loan.

Photo: AP Photo
A fan touches Michael Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles.

Michael’s father Joe Jackson told reporters MJ’s family is waiting for results of a second autopsy before finalizing plans for a funeral. The first autopsy was conducted Friday and the second autopsy is currently ongoing, with results expected soon.

When asked if the pop star would be buried at Neverland, Joe Jackson said “that’s not true.”

The city of Gary, Ind., hopes The King of Pop will be buried in his hometown, where Michael formed the Jackson Five along with his brothers. City spokeswoman Lalosa Burns told CNN the singer could be buried near a proposed Jackson family museum and a performing arts center.

“The mayor had spoken with a contact of the Jackson family and expressed our interest in having that to be a part of the history of this great family,” Burns said. “We have not received confirmation on that.”

Click here for the AP article.

Click here for the CNN article. 

Click here for the TMZ.com article 

Click here for the “60 Minutes” article.

Click here for the E! Online article.