Casey Kasem’s family members are accusing each other of the murder of the legendary radio DJ in a vicious family feud.
The feud pits Kasem’s three adult children — Kerri, Julie, and Michael — against his second wife, Jean, with both sides lobbing charges of elder abuse and “murder” at the other. The ongoing fight and accusations are the focus of an upcoming episode of “48 Hours”, which airs Saturday.
“I have never seen such hatred within a family,” says “48 Hours” correspondent Peter Van Sant in a sneak peek of the episode. “Both sides tell credible, powerful stories. Both proclaim their love for Casey and both blame the other and accuse the other of killing Casey – and both use the word ‘murder’.”
Kasem died at age 82 in June 2014 from complications related to a mysterious “Parkinsons-like disease”, leaving behind an estimated $80-$100 million fortune from his days as the iconic voice of the “American Top 40” radio show, voice of Shaggy on the 1970s “Scooby-Doo”, and other royalties.
Jean, who married Kasem in 1980, alleges her late husband’s children conspired against the couple, tricking their elderly father into signing over his power of attorney to them. In return, Kerri, Julie, and Michael claim Jean’s actions led to his death. The family feud over his fortune, estate, and final resting place began before Kasem’s death, with Jean alleging he cut them off financially while he was still alive.
“It was always about the money. We became the bank of Kasem. We were their personal ATM machine,” Jean tells “48 Hours”.
Police in Gig Harbor, Washington, have reopened an investigation into his death after a private investigator, who was hired by Jean, concluded Kasem was a victim of homicide.
“They killed my husband, they killed their father,” Jean claims, but the Kasem children make similar claims against their father’s widow.
“Jean killed my father, what she did led to his death,” Kerri tells “48 Hours”. “The only thing she ever wanted from my dad is money. That’s it. Dad once told me don’t ever go up against Jean. ‘You don’t know what she’s capable of.'”
In 2014, Jean moved an ailing Kasem from a rehab facility in Santa Monica to a friend’s home in Washington to “protect” him in his final days. An L.A. judge then stripped Jean of her decision-making authority over concerns about his health. His children found him and forced him into a hospital where he died shortly thereafter after being removed from life support. Hospital records show he was suffering from septic shock, a Stage 3 ulcer, and other ailments.
The Kasem children filed a wrongful-death suit against Jean, accusing her of elder abuse and emotional distress. Jean countersued citing the same claims.
While the battle rages on, Kasem’s final resting place is an unmarked grave in Norway, which is also a point of contention for Kasem’s children who say he’s buried there “out of spite” so they can’t visit.