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Neverland Isolated, Quiet

Aired November 20, 2003 - 15:42   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go now to CNN's Gary Tuchman. He's at Michael Jackson's ranch just outside of Santa Barbara, the Neverland Ranch.
Gary, much activity there right now?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, very quiet. Workers have been going in and out. But other than that, we have seen one supporter show up in the two days we have been here. It's been very quiet.

In all fairness, this is a very isolated area and very hard to find unless you are familiar with the area. But about an hour-and-a- half ago, a woman walked up to the gate behind me and she had a single white rose. And she yelled across to the security guard in a little outside the fence, and he walked out and he took the rose from her. Another woman came by last night and delivered a sign saying, "We support you, king of pop."

But this is the location, the 2,600-acre home of Michael Jackson where we do expect it would be most likely he would come if he does indeed get out on that $3 million bail. One thing we were wondering, Judy, as we watched him come out of car into the sheriff's offices, where are his three children?

He has custody of all three of his children. Yesterday at the news conference, the district attorney and the sheriff said, as far as they know, he will still have custody of the children. Ultimately, it will be up to a judge to make that decision. But right now, he still has custody of the three children and we don't know where they are at this point.

But either way, we just went to that fence, asked the security guard, "Have you heard if Michael Jackson is coming back today," fully expecting he would not answer. And indeed, he did not answer -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Gary, it is entirely possible that if he seeks any sort of privacy at all, if he is -- if -- if, if is he out on bail, that he might choose to go somewhere else, that the press might not be standing there waiting to take pictures of him.

TUCHMAN: I can tell you, though, Judy, because this is 2,600 acres, you may have to sustain a short drive down the road here. But if you did it in a vehicle with tinted windows, he would be through it in five seconds, and you would never be near anybody. So this is a pretty private place for him to come. And that's why we consider it likely he will end up here. But of course there are no guarantees.

WOODRUFF: And yet, there are going to be aerial pictures even when he's there. I mean, I'm assuming there are no aerial restrictions, right? The press is taking pictures in helicopters and so forth overhead?

TUCHMAN: And that is an excellent point. There's no restrictions, because he may not want those pictures from way above. Indeed, he may end up going elsewhere. But if he does decide to come here, he can go inside his large mansion and that won't be a problem with the airplanes.

WOODRUFF: Gary, give us a sense of how large a press contingent is there at the Jackson ranch. Can you maybe turn the camera and show us how big a crowd or not?

TUCHMAN: What we'll do -- and we'll show you some of our lights and other things. If you can move, you folks. I'm going to be really polite. I hope they don't mind if I ask them to move away for a little bit.

But this gives you an idea of what we have here. This is a very isolated road, beautiful scenery. Mountains in the background.

People have set up tents. They're using their cars to sleep because this is kind of a 24-hour stake out now as people wait for Michael Jackson to possibly come here.

But it's peaked. We have seen probably 125 to 150 members of the news media, photographers, writers, television reporters, and a little of everybody waiting to see if Michael Jackson will indeed show up. But we know he's back now in his home county of Santa Barbara.

WOODRUFF: All right. Gary Tuchman. And of course we'll be coming back to you if we know for a fact that's where he is coming. And we'll probably be coming back to you regardless one way or another. Gary, thanks.

Well clearly, this is a story that has been not just on the front pages of the newspapers. It has been on every television channel practically non-stop since the word broke two days ago about the search of Michael Jackson's ranch. That means that not only adults, but young people, children are hearing about this. And it's a disturbing story to try to explain to your children.


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