The body of American radio personality Casey Kasem, who died at the age of 82 in June, has been lying in an Oslo morgue while his family argues over where he ultimately should be buried. The acting head of Oslo’s burial agency (gravferdsetaten) says he’s never been caught up in such a conflict before.
“And I’ve been working in this field for for 30 years,” Stein Olav Hohle told state broadcaster NRK on Friday. The funeral home handling the case in Norway, however, refutes a statement made on social media by Kasem’s daughter, Kerri Kasem, that it has “refused” to bury her father.
“We follow the instructions of the burial authorities and our client,” Jan Willy Løken, managing director of Jølstad Begravelsebyrå told NRK.no on Friday. “We simply haven’t received a clear signal from them yet, and therefore the burial has not taken place. As far as I know, there’s still no decision in this case.”
Kasem’s children from his first marriage want the man who for years counted down the hits on American radio to be buried in California. Newspaper VG reported that Kasem’s second wife, Jean Thomson Kasem, instead sent his body to Norway via Canada, claiming Kasem himself believed that Norway “symbolized peace and looks like heaven,” so she wanted to bury him in the country allegedly to fulfill his wishes.
The entire conflict seems rooted in a bitter family feud that’s raged for years, with Norwegian authorities now stuck firmly in the middle. Kasem’s children and several friends sent a letter to the Norwegian authorities in August requesting the burial be halted. They also want an autopsy performed on their father’s body, reportedly claiming his wife had isolated him from them before he disappeared from the nursing home where he’d been living.
Hohle told NRK that the issue was now up to US authorities to decide. “A body can lie a long time in the freezer,” he said. “But we want to get this case settled, as to whether Kasem will be buried in Norway or in the USA.”