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The Jacksons: A fractured family

Allegations and a missing grandmother spark serious concern about music’s most illustrious family

Image Credit: AFP
(FILES)The late Michael Jackson's mother Katherine Jackson (C) arrives at the courthouse in Los Angeles in this November 29, 2011 file photo for the sentencing of Doctor Conrad Murray. The mother of Michael Jackson, who died in 2009, is the subject of a missing person alert, after her grandchildren, claimed to be without news of their grandmother for nearly a week they told American television CNN on July 22, 2012. The nephew of Katherine Jackson, Trent, who filed the alert from the Sheriff's Department Los Angeles County, California. But Jermaine Jackson, Michael's brother, immediately denied, ensuring that Katherine Jackson, 82, was doing well and was resting in Arizona. "I want to reassure everyone that my Mother is fine and is resting in Arizona on the orders of her doctor, not us", he wrote on his Twitter account. AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. BROWN

A public family Twitter feud, allegations over a “fake” will, a “missing” grandmother and a battle over a $500 million (Dh1.83 billion) fortune.

After a week of bizarre family allegations the already-apparent cracks are more prominent (and public) than ever for the once extremely private Jackson clan.

Family disputes aren’t anything new to music’s most illustrious family, but in this latest whirlwind of allegations over the King of Pop’s will and the “disappearance” of his 82-year-old mother and beneficiary to his estate, the fracture in the family has reached an all-time high.

Confusion reigned after Katherine Jackson’s nephew, Trent, filed a missing persons report for her with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday night. He claimed none of her grandchildren were able to get in touch with her for a week.

It is the latest chapter in a messy dispute between several of Katherine’s children and her advisers over her finances and legal affairs.

But it wasn’t long before Jermaine, one of Michael’s eight siblings, came out to clarify his mother was fine and resting in Arizona.

However, the story took another turn when generation three got involved. Paris, Michael’s 14-year-old daughter, claims she called her aunts Rebbie and Janet over the past several days and she was told each time she could not speak to her grandmother.

Worried about the safety of her official guardian — Katherine has been caring for Paris, Prince Michael and Blanket since their father’s death — she issued a frantic plea on Twitter early on Sunday.

“I haven’t spoken with her in a week I want her home now,” she posted from her account. She also tweeted a number for people to contact in case they saw her grandmother.

It was unclear who was taking care of Paris and her siblings.

Katherine also hasn’t been in contact with her legal representatives, who worked on Sunday to learn more information about her whereabouts.

The family drama unfolded days after it was revealed that some of Katherine’s children had written a letter to the executors of Michael’s estate, alleging his will — which left his fortune to his children, his mother and charity — was a fake.

The undated letter, signed by Janet, Randy, Tito, Rebbie and Jermaine Jackson, claimed Katherine was being manipulated by the executors, John Branca and John McClain, her health had been affected, and she suffered a mini-stroke.

The legitimacy of the letter was confirmed by Randy on Twitter, and Janet then retweeted his post.

The estate has denied the accusations.

Paris then lashed out at her uncle Randy on Twitter, saying her grandmother was fine.

“I will defend my beloved family member with all I have, even if it means from other family members,” she tweeted.

She later apologised, saying she just wanted to let people know that her grandmother did not have a stroke.

On Friday, Jermaine tweeted that his mother was resting on the orders of a doctor in Arizona.

“This is our mother and her health is paramount. We are not inventing or plotting anything,” he posted. “We are following doctor’s advice. Period.”

However, Paris then tweeted on Sunday: “The same doctor that testified on behalf of dr murray saying my father was a drug addict (a lie) is caring for my grandmother ... just saying.”

When law enforcement confirmed Katherine was safe, Jermaine took the opportunity to take to Twitter to elaborate the point.

“Let me put to bed today’s nonsense: as I made clear some days ago, Mother is safe and well in Arizona with her daughter and our sister, Rebbie, resting up on doctor’s advice, so it is beyond me how she can be reported ‘missing’.

“This incredulous claim was made for reasons best known to the adult/s who filed it but it seems no accident that it comes after we, the sons and daughters, put in place care-taking for our own mother, taking her to Arizona in line with doctor’s advice following a check-up.

“Furthermore, it dismays me that such an alarmist ‘missing person’ report has caused unnecessary anxiety among Michael’s children, who will understandably react to what they misunderstand, hear or are told.

“No-one is being ‘blocked’ from speaking with Mother. She is merely an 82-year-old woman following doctor’s orders to rest-up and de-stress, away from phones and computers. Everyone has been well aware of this within the family, but I would like to reiterate my reassurance to the outside world that Mother is fine. In the meantime, thank you for all your thoughts and concerns.”

The drama continues.