Norway Denies Casey Kasem Family Burial Request: 'We Cannot Dig Up the Body'
Despite Casey Kasem's family's request to let them bury him in Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Norwegian authorities intend to honor his widow Jean Kasem's wish to bury him in Oslo, because she says she is part Norwegian and plans to move there. Kasem, once America's most famous DJ, died June 15, during a bitter, bizarre family feud fought through the media.
But when Norway's VG newspaper told Oslo director of funeral services Wenche Madsen Eriksson that Jean's own nephew Herbert Thompson denies she has any Norwegian ancestors, and there's no evidence she'll really move to Norway, Eriksson said, "It was a matter of trust [between us and Jean Kasem]. Clearly, we cannot dig up the body again if she doesn't move to Norway." Eriksson recommended Oslo's Western Cemetery, the final resting place of World War II heroes and luminaries like singer Kirsten Flagstad, one of two Norwegians with a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
Five Kasem family members tell THR that Jean Kasem abused Casey, who had dementia in later years, and for 34 years kept him from his family. "He was like Rapunzel locked up in a tower," says Casey's daughter Kerri Kasem. Adds family publicist Danny Deraney, "His personal nurse at [Santa Monica's] Berkley East Convalescent Hospital said that she never saw Jean visit her husband one time. The family does not expect Jean to visit her husband or to live in Norway. She did not visit him in life, why would she in death?" Hospital officials had no comment. Family members allege that Jean Kasem was concerned not with helping her husband but with hurting his children and family — for example, she accused Kerri Kasem of working in pornography, apparently because she posed in Maxim.
"In the [Washington state] hospital the last two weeks of her husband's life, she was invited every day and never once saw him," says Logan Clarke, the family's private investigator. "She left his body for weeks and then took him to Canada." Clarke provided THR with Providence Tarzana Medical Center doctor's notes apparently indicating that physicians urgently called Jean Kasem over 20 times from December 21, 2013, to Feb. 7, 2014, to ask her to transfer Casey to a skilled nursing-care facility or to home care, and she did not do so, even when he wound up in ICU with septic shock.
Family members say their attempts to see Casey enraged Jean. "Julie, Mike, and Kerri [Mr. Kasem's children from his first marriage] saw their dad every week and talked to him on the phone every single day until she ripped the phone out of the room," says Deraney. "Jean would fire any caretaker if they allowed him to talk to his children." Says Kerri Kasem, "I [had] never gone a week without either seeing my dad or talking to him on the phone until Jean blocked me, my brother and my sister."
When TMZ told them that Jean had secretly moved Casey to Santa Monica's Berkley East hospital, they visited him there on May 6, 2014. That night, he was removed, and taken to a peninsula near Seattle. "All because his children dared to come and visit him," Julie Kasem told THR. During the trip from Santa Monica to Washington, Kerri Kasem alleges that her father had no painkillers."My dad was moaning and crying," she told THR. "She tortured him for two and a half weeks." Now, after an over 7,900-mile odyssey, Casey is in Oslo, perhaps forever.
Though Kerri Kasem said, "I want this evil woman in jail for what she has done to this family," and Santa Monica police investigated the claims of elder abuse, no charges have been filed against Jean Kasem, who did not respond to THR's emails, nor did her attorney offer any comment. In a March 2014 email exchange, when Kerri Kasem's sister Julie Kasem told Jean, "I feel so sad for dad that his wishes to see his children are being denied," Jean — angry because Julie did not tell her how she'd found out where Casey was — replied, "I'm just protecting him like I once protected you."
"We've never seen such a case," said Oslo's Eriksson to VG.