Detectives found large quantities of general anesthetic and dozens of tubes of skin-whitening creams in Michael Jackson’s home after the singer’s death, search warrants unsealed Friday show.
Investigators went to Jackson’s rented mansion June 29 following a lengthy interview with his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who told them he had placed a medical bag in a cupboard in a closet.
At the home, detectives found 11 containers of the powerful anesthetic propofol, some of them empty, as well as a range of sedatives and various medical items including a box of blood pressure cuffs, according to the warrants, which were redacted and unsealed after The Associated Press filed a legal motion.
Jackson’s June 25 death at age 50 was ruled a homicide caused by an overdose of propofol and other sedatives. Murray has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
During their search, detectives found 19 tubes of hydroquinone and 18 tubes of Benoquin, both of which are commonly used in the treatment of a skin condition Jackson had called vitiligo. The disease creates patches of de-pigmented skin, and creams can be used to lighten skin that has retained its color to give a more even appearance.
Some people with vitiligo get to the point where there is so much of them that is pale, it makes more sense to remove the bits that are brown,” said Dr. David Sawcer, assistant professor of clinical dermatology at the University of Southern California.
Benoquin is derived from hydroquinone. Though the creams can be used at the same time, it is unusual to do so, Sawcer said. The medications typically come in travel-toothpaste-sized tubes and each treatment usually lasts a few months. Side effects include acute sensitivity to the sun.
“In the places they have no pigment, they are exactly like an albino,” Sawcer said.
The discovery of medical creams in Jackson’s home dovetails with an odd remark Murray reportedly made soon after Jackson’s death.
The skin cream was not listed as a factor in Jackson’s death nor was it detected in a toxicology report. What killed Jackson, according to the autopsy report, was an overdose of propofol, an anesthetic normally used for surgery. Murray told police he gave it to Jackson to help him sleep, a use anesthesiology experts have said is grossly improper.