As Casey Kasem's health has deteriorated over the last month, and his family fought publicly about his medical care and visitation rights, many have wondered why he is 1,200 miles from home in his fragile condition.
The 82-year-old radio icon has been diagnosed with Lewy Body dementia, and doctors say, he is "near the end of his life."
On Friday, after a Kitsap Superior Court hearing in which his wife, Jean Kasem, was found in contempt of court, new details emerged about the five-day road trip in May that involved four states and ended in Silverdale, Washington at the home of a family he's never even met.
For nearly a year, Jean Kasem, 59, shut out Casey Kasem's children from his previous marriage and other family members from visiting him or speaking to him on the phone. Jean Kasem hasn't explained why in detail but she has accused the children of wanting to take the radio icon's $80 million fortune.
After not seeing her father for five months, Kerri Kasem, 41, figured out he was at the Berkeley East Convalescent Hospital and visited him with her sister, Julie, 38. On Friday, after the hearing in Washington, Kerri Kasem gave this account about what happened next:
"A few hours later, at 2:30 a.m., my stepmother and her daughter—my half sister—went in and took my father from his bed against doctor's orders," she said, adding that the hospital security's cameras caught all of it. "Adult Protective Services was called. Against them, against the nurse's orders, Jean grabbed my father, stole all of the equipment he was attached to, and threw him in the back seat of the car and drove off."
The family heard from a relative of Jean Kasem's that she was trying to take Casey Kasem out of the country or, at least, onto an Indian reservation, Kerri Kasem said. When Jean Kasem realized her plans had been discovered, she changed her course.
Jean Kasem drove to Las Vegas, where they checked into the Vdara Hotel & Spa. There, they met up with a friend, who drove them to Arizona. But then they returned to Las Vegas, where they flew on a private jet to Washington.
The trip lasted five days.
"My father is very fragile, very sick," Kerri Kasem said. "During that little trip he took, he incurred a huge, huge bed sore. This is in the doctor's notes. He did not have medication. She was feeding him Ensure through his feeding tube."
Amanda Edwards / Getty Images file
Radio personality Casey Kasem, second from left, and his family arrive at the Golden Dads Awards ceremony at the Peterson Automotive Museum on June 15, 2005 in Los Angeles, Calif.
The driver of the private ambulance that picked Casey Kasem up at the Washington airport called Adult Protective Services, sensing something was wrong. On May 13, Kitsap Sherrif's deputies found the family, after a judge ordered law enforcement to get involved. Jean Kasem told them the family was on vacation.
By then, the judge had also appointed Kerri Kasem temporary conservator over her father's healthcare.
"People believe my dad went from his home to his friends he's known his whole life," Kerri Kasem said. "They are people that Jean's parents knew in Guam in the '60s. They've never even seen my Dad. I don't even think Jean has seen them until this time."
Once she took charge, Kerri Kasem received her father's medical records from Berkeley East and learned that neither Casey Kasem's wife or 24-year-old daughter, Liberty, had visited him in four months.
The night Jean Kasem removed her husband from the facility she told the nurse, "We're getting him out of here because his kids got to see him and we're not allowed to see him."
Despite a judge's ruling that Kerri Kasem is in charge over his healthcare, Jean Kasem continued to keep her out of her father's life, even hiring a motorcycle club to provide security and keep Kerri Kasem out of the house, according to documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. When Kerri Kasem arrived on June 1 with an ambulance to pick up her father, Jean Kasem threw a pound of frozen ground beef at her.
On Friday, the judge in Washington found Jean Kasem in contempt for those actions and admonished her, but said she would not fine the former "Cheers" actress.
Michelle Hofland / TODAY
Image: A hearing in Kitsap Superior Court in Washington regarding the ongoing family feud about Casey Kasem's medical care and family visitation.
"There's no point in fining you," Kitsap Superior Court Judge Jennifer Forbes said. "What matters to me is that Mr Kasem gets his care and that his family can see Mr. Kasem and show him love. I want to keep the chaos and the conflict down."
Jean Kasem complained to the judge that she has not been able to see her husband in the hospital. After causing a scene there Tuesday night, security escorted her out and hasn't allowed her back on the property. The judge ordered that everyone should be able to see Casey Kasem, hoping that the hospital would allow her. Kerri Kasem released a statement later that Jean Kasem spent over two hours with her husband after the hearing.
"What I want is for all of us to be around him when he takes his last breath—me, my brother, my sister, my uncle, my aunt, Jean and Liberty," Kerri Kasem said. "I want him to look up and see that we put aside all of our differences just once. To be there for him. That’s it."
Her sister, Julie, issued a statement: "My Dad taught us that family comes first. We want to honor him and make sure all of his family, including Jean and Liberty are surrounding him with love at this critical time."
Kerri Kasem has asked the Los Angeles judge who appointed her conservator to let her move her father to a skilled nursing facility in Washington, pending relocating him to Los Angeles. She also wants to be in control of the visitation schedule, though she intends to include everyone. A hearing is scheduled for Monday.
TODAY producer Michelle Hofland contributed to this report.
First published June 6 2014, 12:48 PM