Inside Casey Kasem's Sad, Bizarre Final Days
From meat-throwing to a Vegas road trip, his last moments were wrought with drama as his children and their stepmother fought over his care
Casey Kasem‘s final days were rife with family drama, and his burial remains a source of contention two months after his death. And while no one could have predicted his sad end, the details of that time seem like works of morbid fiction.
Though he spent his last two weeks surrounded by his three children from his first marriage, the iconic radio personality died thousands of miles from his California home – a circumstance caused by the actions of his wife, Jean, that began months before his death on June 15, at the age of 82.
Kasem had been quietly living with advanced Parkinson’s disease for years, but with his health deteriorating, things began taking a bizarre turn last year, and they continued to spiral months after his passing.
October, Los Angeles: The Drama Begins
Kasem’s eldest daughter, Kerri, 42, held a protest outside her father’s Los Angeles mansion complete with picket signs and police presence.
“We’ve been cut off from him,” Kerri told PEOPLE of her stepmother Jean having kept Kerri and her siblings, Mike, 40, and Julie, 39, from being able to see their father for more than three months. (Julie requested a conservatorship over their father’s healthcare, but neither police, adult welfare services nor a court-appointed attorney for the American Top 40 host found any evidence of elder abuse at the time.)
May 7, Santa Monica: Kasem Is Taken from His Care Facility
After a few months of calm, Jean entered the Berkley East Convalescent Hospital, where Kasem was being cared for, and removed the tube that provided her husband with nutrition and hydration.
“She came in and checked [Casey] out against medical advice,” Dr. Paul Leitner wrote in a letter addressed to the Elder Abuse Investigations department at the Office of Criminal Investigations in Santa Monica, California. “She was informed of the risks of doing so and was told she was placing Mr. Kasem in great bodily harm or possible demise.”
But Jean didn’t just leave the facility with her husband, according to private investigator Logan Clark.
“She steals the equipment. And they let her steal the equipment because it is two in the morning and they knew that Casey would die if he didn t have that machine hooked up,” says Clark, who was hired by Kerri. “We have video of her putting Casey in an SUV in the front seat and then we believe went to her house for a day or two.”
May 11, Las Vegas: An Odd Sin City Road Trip
Clark says sources confirm to him that Jean loaded up two SUVs – one for Kasem and some caretakers and another for Jean and her daughter with Kasem, Liberty, 24 – and drove to Las Vegas, where they stayed at the Vdara hotel for a few days before flying to Washington.
May 13, Washington: Disturbing Accounts of His Health
Upon arrival in Washington, an ambulance transported Kasem not to a hospital but to the Seattle-area home of one of Jean’s childhood friends, according to Kerri’s lawyer Scott Winship.
“The driver of the ambulance is required to report suspicions of elder abuse to adult protective services. That’s how we found [Jean and Casey] in Washington,” Winship says of locating Kasem after his children filed a missing persons report. “He hadn’t had appropriate medical care for about a week and had a stage 3 to stage 4 compression ulcer.”
June 1, Seattle: The Meat-Throwing Incident
After another court battle that played out in the media, Kerri successfully obtained a conservatorship. But when she arrived to transport her father to a hospital, she was met by Jean, who threw raw meat at Kerri “in the name of King David.”
Jean, who was not present at the hospital the two weeks before his death, according to Clark, then took custody of Kasem s remains and had him moved to a nearby funeral home, where an autopsy was performed at her request.
July 16, Seattle: Kasem Disappears Again
Things took a dramatic turn a month later, when Kerri and her siblings sought to request an autopsy of their own to use as evidence in a pending elder abuse case.
“While I was across the street obtaining a temporary restraining order [against Jean] so we could get the autopsy, a friend of mine saw a cavalcade of vehicles outside the funeral home,” says Winship. “He asked them what was going on and they said they were moving Mr. Kasem’s remains to Canada.”
Present, Unknown: Kasem s Remains Remain in Limbo
Clark claims Jean held Kasem’s body in Montreal and has now taken his remains to Norway, where she intends to have him buried.
“Jean Kasem sent a letter to Norwegian officials, stating her false Norwegian heritage and background,” a rep for Kerri said in a statement Monday.
“The bottom line is, Jean is hiding from authorities,” the rep tells PEOPLE, adding that the children want to respect their father’s wishes and have him buried in a Los Angeles-area cemetery. “She’s hiding the body away from the authorities, family and friends.”
Jean’s lawyer in Washington declined to comment on the situation.