LOS ANGELES (AP) - A judge appointed Tito Jackson's son Wednesday to serve as the temporary guardian of Michael Jackson's children after hearing about the absence of the family's matriarch and details of the family's recent turmoil.
Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff temporarily suspended Katherine Jackson as the children's guardian because she is in Arizona and hadn't spoken with them in several days. He said there was no evidence that she had done anything wrong and that he would restore her to the guardian role after she returned.
The appointment came after days of turmoil among the Jackson family, with a relative reporting Katherine Jackson missing before she was located safely in Arizona.
TJ Jackson appeared in court and was appointed after describing a "strange" conversation he had with Katherine Jackson on Tuesday evening. He said some of her speech sounded slurred and she used words that made him wonder if she was speaking in code.
"I've never heard my grandmother talk like that," he said reluctantly.
The judge initially said he wouldn't grant a temporary guardian but changed his mind after hearing arguments from TJ Jackson's attorney, Charles Shultz. The children's guardian ad litem, Margaret Lodise, said she also spoke with the children and the two oldest, Prince and Paris, supported the appointment of a temporary guardian.
Lodise said she did not ask the youngest son, 10-year-old Blanket, for his views.
Beckloff ordered Shultz to give notice to two other potential guardians, singer Diana Ross and Debbie Rowe, who is the mother of the eldest Jackson children. Ross was named in Michael Jackson's 2002 will as a potential guardian.
The children have remained at the home they share with their grandmother in Calabasas throughout days of questions about Katherine Jackson's whereabouts.
Katherine Jackson's attorney, Perry Sanders Jr., said after the hearing that he had received word that she was returning Wednesday to Los Angeles.
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