WASHINGTON, July 19, 2014 – Beloved entertainment icon Casey Kasem died on June 15, however his dying and his death have fallen far short of any dignity.
Kasem’s body is now missing. Wife Jean Kasem is in possession of his remains that were removed from the Gaffney Funeral Home in Tacoma, Washington.
Kerri Kasem was given a legal temporary restraining order on Wednesday that prevents her dad’s second wife, Jean Kasem, from cremating or removing the remains from the funeral home.
Spokesperson Candace Corkum has confirmed to CNN that they facility is no longer in possession of the body. Jean Kasem denies that her late husband’s body is missing.
Kasem’s children, Kellie, Julie and Mike, had accepted that Jean Kasem would oversee the burial of their father, holding a memorial in his honor in the days following his death.
However that changed when Kerri Kasem, who was given medical directive by her father, learned that Jean Kasem intended to have an autopsy performed.
“I’m concerned about the results of any autopsy Jean Kasem may have commissioned and how they might be used,” Kerri Kasem wrote in court papers obtained by the AP. “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.”
Which is just another layer of argument that has surrounded this fractured family since Kasem was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2007. At that time he signed a document giving his oldest children the authority to make his medical decisions if he should become unable to do so himself.
Signed by Kasem on November 11, 2007, that power of attorney included a declaration that he did not want to be kept alive with “any form of life sustaining procedures, including nutrition and hydration” if it “would result in a mere biological existence, devoid of cognitive function, with no reasonable hope of normal functioning.”
This document also ignored Kasem’s wife, Jean Thompson, and as the father and husband deteriorated a six-year legal battle over Kasem’s care has ensued.
Kerri Kasem was given custody of her father at the end of his life and it was by her authority that doctors ended infusions of water, food and medicine that prolonged his life, a process that Kasem’s doctor said would “at best prolong the dying process for him and will certainly add suffering to an already terribly uncomfortable dying process.”
Wife Jean Kasem obviously disagreed with Kasem’s wishes and wanted to be in control of his health care, including taking steps to prolong his life, saying through her attorney Steve Haney that denying him care was the “equivalent of a death sentence.”
Jean Kasem moved Casey Kasem from the Santa Monica nursing home where he was receiving care, in order to avoid a court order giving Kerri Kasem control over his medical decisions. Mrs. Kasem transported her husband from Santa Monica to Washington State by car, and not telling his children where he was being kept.
When found and removed from the private residence, Mr. Kasem was taken St. Anthony Hospital. According to hospital spokesman Scott Thomason, Mr. Kasem was was treated with antibiotics through IVs, blood pressure support medicine and care for his bedsores. His condition was listed as critical.
Mr. Kasem did indeed die, however there is little chance that he would have recovered any quality of life due to his advanced sepsis, dehydration, and diagnosis of Lewy body dementia, that at first was diagnosed as Parkinsons and for which there is no cure.
Death from Lewy body dementia can be extremely painful.
When Kasem was told he had Parkinson’s in 2007, he signed a document giving his oldest children authority to make his medical decisions if he should become unable to do so himself.
The power of attorney statement included a declaration that he did not want to be kept alive with “any form of life sustaining procedures, including nutrition and hydration” if it “would result in a mere biological existence, devoid of cognitive function, with no reasonable hope of normal functioning.”
This document, which snubbed Kasem’s wife, set the stage for the legal battle that would erupt six years later as his health deteriorated and his children accused the stepmother of shutting them out of their father’s life. It would serve as a legal basis for his daughter to have doctors discontinue infusions of water, food and medicine.
And now the family battle continues well after his death and the man has yet to be buried.
The family battle that surrounded radio host Casey Kasem during his final days continues to rage on after his death.
Although the 82-year-old passed away on June 15, his body has yet to be buried. Now, according to Danny Deraney, the publicist for Kasem’s daughter Kerri Kasem, the family doesn’t know where his body is.
“We are not surprised,” Kerri Kasem told to CNN. “We expected something like this to happen.”
Married to Jean Thompson for more than 30 years, Kasem’s adult children from his first marriage and Thompson clashed frequently over Kasem’s care with Jean Kasem fighting the health care directive in court, claiming the children wanted to end their father’s life for “the money.”
Kerri Kasem has, of course, denied that claim.
It is indeed a sad epitaph for the icon.