SEATTLE » A judge in Washington state has granted Casey Kasem’s daughter a temporary restraining order preventing the famous radio host’s wife from cremating his remains or removing them from a funeral home.
Kasem, the radio host of "American Top 40" and voice of animated television characters like Scooby-Doo’s sidekick Shaggy, died June 15 at a hospital in Gig Harbor. Court records show his body remains at a funeral home in Tacoma, south of Seattle, more than a month later.
Kasem suffered from a form of dementia, and his three adult children from his first wife fought a bitter legal battle with Kasem’s second wife, Jean, over control of his health care in his final months.
Daughter Kerri Kasem on Wednesday asked a Pierce County Superior Court judge for authorization to seek an autopsy on her father as well as a temporary restraining order to ensure his body is held in cold storage and not cremated until that autopsy is completed.
Judge Ronald Culpepper ordered Kasem’s second wife of 34 years, Jean, to ensure that the radio host’s remains are preserved and that his body stays at the funeral home until the court decides on the autopsy petition.
A call to Jean Kasem’s attorney Friday morning was not immediately returned.
Kerri Kasem said she is worried that her stepmother may prevent the autopsy by having his remains moved to Canada or cremated, according to the statement she filed in court.
She said she learned from the director of the funeral home that Jean Kasem planned to have an autopsy done and that worried her because she wondered why it was needed.
"I’m concerned about the results of any autopsy Jean Kasem may have commissioned and how they might be used," Kerri Kasem wrote. "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."
A hearing has been scheduled for July 25 on the autopsy petition.