Casey Kasem’s daughter seeks right to have her father’s body autopsied

Staff writerJuly 17, 2014 

Casey Kasem

ERIC JAMISON — AP Photo

A month after Casey Kasem’s death in a Gig Harbor hospital, the bitter feud between radio legend’s children and his wife continues.

Kasem’s daughter, Kerri Kasem, has won a temporary restraining order in Pierce County Superior Court that prevents her father’s second wife, Jean Kasem, from cremating his body or removing it from a Tacoma funeral home.

Kerri Kasem wants an autopsy performed on her father’s body and fears Jean Kasem might thwart that effort by having his remains moved to Canada or cremated, court records show.

Jean Kasem has told third parties she, too, is interested in having an autopsy performed on her husband’s body, court records show.

“Given that she had threatened to sue me for elder abuse and wrongful death, I am concerned about the results of any autopsy Jean Kasem may have commissioned and how they might be used,” Kerri Kasem wrote in a declaration supporting her request.

“Consequently, I thought it would be best to ask the Washington court to allow me to have an autopsy conducted by a forensic pathologist of my own selection.”

Kerri Casey asked that her father’s body be retained in cold storage at the Gaffney Funeral Home until further order of the court, and that Jean Kasem “preserve all reports, evidence and other information that may have been created or generated following an autopsy of the body of Casey Kasem,” court records show.

Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper issued such an order Wednesday.

Teruyuki Olsen, an attorney representing Jean Kasem, declined to comment on Kerri Kasem’s request.

Casey Kasem, who became a household name hosting “American Top 40” for decades, died June 15 at the age of 82.

He was in ill health and suffered from a condition called Lewy Body dementia, but the cause and manner of his death have not be determined, according to a copy of his Pierce County death certificate.

The end of his life was marked by a highly publicized fight between Jean Kasem and his three children from his first marriage, including Kerri Kasem, over access to him and decisions about his health care.

Jean Kasem spirited her husband out of California and to Silverdale earlier this year, sparking a series of legal maneuvers that ended with Kerri Kasem being given authority over her father’s health-care decisions despite the strenuous objects of Jean Kasem.

Jean Kasem retained the right to control the disposition of her husband’s remains, court records show.

Casey and Jean Kasem were married for 35 years and had a child together.

The police department in Santa Monica, California, also has launched an investigation into possible elder abuse in the case, court records show.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644 adam.lynn@thenewstribune.com @TNTAdam

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