Kerri Kasem Calls Father's Ordeal 'Sickening,' Pushes Fight to See Him
"I feel so horrible for my father," she tells PEOPLE as a judge suggests she hire a private eye
The search for Casey Kasem may have ended outside Seattle, but the fight over the care of the seriously ailing radio host raged on Tuesday in a Los Angeles courtroom – and will move now to Washington State.
With Kasem’s children and his own attorney saying they still are unable to see him, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel S. Murphy expanded the powers of Kasem’s daughter, Kerri Kasem, to determine whether the American Top 40 personality is receiving proper care.
At a hearing, Murphy also ordered Kasem’s wife, Jean Kasem, to comply with court orders to allow doctors to evaluate her husband, to let Kasem’s children visit him, and to surrender his passport. He even suggested Kerri hire an unarmed private detective if necessary to get to her father.
“I feel so horrible for my father,” Kerri tells PEOPLE. “This is sickening.”
Kasem, 82, who suffers a form of dementia called Lewy Body Disease, disappeared from a Santa Monica, California, care facility on May 7, one day after Kerri visited him. Judge Murphy ordered an investigation into his whereabouts and named Kerri as temporary conservator.
In an interview with PEOPLE, Kerri claims Jean Kasem, a former actress on Cheers who has been married to Kasem for 34 years, transported him to the Pacific Northwest, where he was later found by the local sheriff’s office with Jean and people whom authorities described as family friends.
But Kerri says she’s never heard of the family and that although a sheriff’s official in Kitsap County, Washington, described Kasem as “alert, upright, dressed, groomed and cognizant of what was going on,” Kerri and her two siblings are desperately worried about their father.
“This poor man was moved in the middle of the night,” Kerri tells PEOPLE. “This is no vacation. This is a man who has a feeding tube, hooked up to an IV and has dementia. This is not a man who needs to be in unfamiliar surroundings.”
Kerri is now concerned he may be moved out of the country. “It happens to be one ferry boat away from Canada,” she says.
The court-appointed lawyer for Kasem, Samuel D. Ingham, also said in court papers filed before the hearing he hasn’t been in contact with his client. Jean Kasem “continues to prevent access,” says his filing.
Complicating matters was that attorneys from two different law firms appeared in court Tuesday on behalf of Jean Kasem.
One of her attorneys, Craig Marcus, has been trying to drop her as a client. In a filing Monday seeking to withdraw from the case, Marcus says Jean “has essentially ceased communication” with him “notwithstanding multiple attempts to contact her.” Marcus also cites a “serious ethical issue and impediment” that could only be discussed with the court in private.
Kerri Kasem is now taking the effort to Washington State, hiring lawyers there, as she laments that her father, who is worth millions from his years in Hollywood, can afford hospice care at home, where he can be visited by family and friends, and not be moved around.