Legendary radio DJ Casey Kasem might not be buried in Oslo, Norway, after all.
After receiving a letter from Kasem's children asking for the Norwegian government to deny their stepmother's request to bury their father in Oslo, officials are consulting with legal advisers on their next course of action, a Norwegian government official told NBC News on Wednesday.
Jean Kasem, his wife of nearly 34 years, asked the Norway government on Aug. 7 to allow the burial in a letter in which she claimed she would be moving to Norway soon. She also said her husband "always said that Norway symbolizes peace and looks like heaven and I would like to respectfully fulfill his wishes."
But in light of letters the government received from Casey Kasem's children and friends, officials have decided to consult with attorneys and reconsider whether Casey Kasem's final resting place will be in Oslo, said the city's Managing Director of Funeral Service Wenche Elizabeth Madsen Eriksson. In the letters to the Norwegian government, Kasem's relatives and friends — including his daughter, Kerri Kasem, and former Lieutenant Governor of California Mike Curb — stated the late DJ "always wanted to be buried in California," where he lived for 53 years.
Casey Kasem's children from his first marriage say Jean Kasem kept them from visiting or speaking to their father for nearly a year before his death. They also say their father always wanted to be buried in Forest Lawn in Glendale.
"We are looking at it once again to see if we made the right decision or not," Eriksson said. "The relatives are saying she has no ancestry in Norway — she does from Europe but not from Norway — and they say that she’s not going to move to Norway at all. They also said she has not been visiting him and doesn’t care about him at all. We don't know if it's true. We need to talk to our lawyers to do more research."
Kasem died in a Gig Harbor, Washington, hospital on June 15 after battling Lewy Body dementia. Jean Kasem moved his remains to Montreal, Canada last month, where she intended to bury him, according to Corey Gaffney, president of Gaffney Funeral Home.
Eriksson confirmed a report in VG, Norway's largest newspaper, that Casey Kasem's body arrived in Oslo last week. The issue will set a precedent in Norway, Eriksson said.
"We haven’t had any cases where there has been foreigners wanting to be buried in Norway, which are not Norwegian themselves or living in Norway. So this is a very special case for us, and there is no law saying we cannot accept foreigners to be buried in Norway. It’s up to us to accept it or not."
Norway officials hope to make a decision by next week. Jean Kasem has not let officials know when she intends to bury her husband.
"Even if the reason [Jean Kasem] gave us wasn’t right, we don’t necessarily have to reject it," Eriksson said. "Casey Kasem can still be buried in Norway. But we must consider the whole situation. We have to decide who is right here, and we might need more information."
First published August 20 2014, 12:36 PM