Casey Kasem burial fight
The bizarre story of where the late US radio star’s body is to be laid to rest currently involves a funeral home in Oslo
American Top 40 program host Casey Kasem and the voice of Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo cartoons passed away on 15th June this year in Washington State’s Gig Harbor. He was 82 years old.
His second wife, actress Jean Kasem, to whom he was married for 34 years and with whom he had a daughter, had moved the ill radio star there. This contravened a court order remanding his care to daughter Kerri.
Kerri and her siblings Julie and Mike were born to Kasem and his first wife Linda Myers. The three siblings have been engaged in a long and protracted legal battle with Jean since their father’s death. They claim she forbid them to see their father in the months before he died.
A restraining order was granted subsequent to his passing, preventing Kasem’s second wife cremating his body until an autopsy had been performed. However, his body was missing when the order was delivered to the funeral home.
It was reported that Jean Kasem had moved his remains to a funeral home in Montreal, Canada. She had also allegedly not told the family where the body was to be laid to rest.
The late Kasem’s brother, Mouner, told British publication The Daily Mail that he found it “a sick joke from a sick woman.”
Events then took a new turn in August. According to ABC 7 Eyewitness News, widow Jean Kasem ostensibly wished to move her late husband’s body to Oslo. An autopsy had not been performed at that time.
Danny Deraney, a spokesperson for Kerri Kasem, told Norwegian tabloid VG “We don’t know why Jean wants to do this.
“That’s been the big question throughout this drama. The Kasem children have no comment at this time, and are letting the authorities handle the situation.”
News agency The Associated Press reported that a lawyer for Kasem’s wife, Teruyuki Olsen, said that he had no comment.
Officials for Oslo municipality’s cemeteries and burials agency confirmed to VG some days later that the late radio star’s body was due to arrive in the Norwegian capital.
Private investigator for Kerri Kasem, Logan Clarke at Clarke International Investigations, told the publication the following day that they had begun the process of contacting lawyers in Norway to stop the planned funeral from taking place.
“He’s going to be buried in Norway,” Clarke had confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
Mike Kasem added, however, that “there is no connection my dad has with Norway. I don’t know if Jean has any ties to Oslo. She certainly has never mentioned it in the last 35 years.”
The late Casey Kasem’s body is currently located in a mortuary in Oslo. Moreover, it also appears as though the issue of his place of burial is nearer resolution.
Earlier this week saw the close of a petition to bring his body back to the U.S. to be laid to rest in California. Kerri Kasem was one of the organizers behind the initiative, which collected 24,287 signatures.
“Good news!!! The petition worked!!!” Kerri Kasem tweeted on her Twitter page. “The funeral home in Norway refused to bury my Dad!
“Now, we are going to send letters and the Care2 petition to the hospital that is holding my father’s body. We wanted 10,000 signatures and we more than doubled that.”
Jølstad Undertakers’ managing director, Jan Willy Løken, states that this is not the case, however. “It’s not we who have refused to bury the[ir] father. Our dealings in this matter are with the burials authority and assignor. The burials authority has not given the go ahead and that is why the burial has not taken place yet. As far as I know, no decision on the matter has yet been made.”
Acting director of Oslo municipality’s cemeteries and burials agency, Stein Olav Hohle, tells NRK that Kasem’s 60-year-old widow, Jean, has told them she and the couple’s daughter had plans of moving to Norway.
At the same time, he remarks the matter is unique in his career. “I’ve never been involved in a similar case before. And I’ve been working in this capacity for 30 years.”
It also appeared in the Oct. 10, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.