Family quizzed on Jordan murder

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WASHINGTON - Federal agents investigating the violent death of James Jordan, the father of Michael Jordan, the world's most celebrated basketball star, yesterday questioned family members about the long delay in reporting the victim as missing, writes David Usborne.

Officials announced on Friday that a body discovered floating in a South Carolina creek on 3 August had been identified as that of Mr Jordan. He had been shot in the chest. An FBI spokesman, Thomas Lusby, indicated that the death was being treated as a murder and a possible case of kidnapping. Through his sport, Michael Jordan had made his family extremely wealthy. Both he and his father were also renowned for their gambling.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson wants the Attorney General, Janet Reno, to set up an investigation into the death. 'First it began to look like a simple robbery. Then it began to look like a gangland slaying. Then it began to look like a cover-up,' said Mr Jackson.

James Jordan had not been seen since 22 July, and the FBI expressed surprise that his family had not reported his disappearance earlier. Police in North Carolina, where Mr Jordan lived, disclosed only on Thursday that he was missing and that a luxury car discovered abandoned and stripped on 5 August had been his.

Mr Lusby said he had received no clear explanation for the delay from the grieving family members, but said he hoped they would explain when they were ready. Michael Jordan arrived in North Carolina by jet on Friday from California, where he had been on holiday.

In June Michael Jordan took the Chicago Bulls to a third straight National Basketball Association championship.