Jackson ranch searched by investigators

November 19, 2003|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

Scores of Santa Barbara County law enforcement officers descended on pop star Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch yesterday, scouring the amusement park estate for evidence in what authorities called an "ongoing criminal investigation."

They arrived in unmarked vans and cars at 8:30 a.m. and fanned out amid the 2,600-acre Santa Ynez Valley ranch, which includes a mansion, amusement rides and a zoo.

The raid occurred as the pop star was shooting a music video in Las Vegas.

Authorities refused to discuss the investigation, but a lawyer who represents the star's family said it stemmed from accusations of child molestation.

"There was a search warrant concerning allegations by a 12-year-old child ... about molestation," said lawyer Brian Oxman.

"This was a surprise not only to me but to everyone."

Jackson family members don't know who the 12-year-old accuser is, but the alleged molestation was supposed to have occurred two months ago, he said.

Authorities have called a news conference for 11 a.m. today to discuss details of the investigation.

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