Casey Kasem’s Daughter Will Visit His Grave for First Time Since He Died in 2014 — with a Stranger’s Help (Exclusive)

The late radio host's eldest daughter opens up on the 10th anniversary of his death, claiming he suffered elder abuse and neglect before dying at 82

<p>Courtesy of Kerri Kasem</p> Casey and Kerri Kasem

Courtesy of Kerri Kasem

Casey and Kerri Kasem

In a few days, Kerri Kasem will board a flight to Norway to see her father's final resting place for the first time, a journey she admits feels more bitter than sweet. 

Originally, "it was an unmarked grave," Kerri tells PEOPLE, opening up about where the beloved radio DJ and TV personality was laid to rest by his wife Jean after he died on June 15, 2014. He was 82, and following years of decline due to advanced Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy body dementia, he reportedly died incapacitated and suffering from sepsis and an ulcerated bedsore after spending his final days mysteriously being moved from one state to another. 

Of his far away grave, "Someone put a tiny little plaque there, this woman who lives in Oslo and who'd heard my dad's story and was so sad about what had happened," says Kerri.

It wasn't until another helpful stranger found that grave and sought Kerri out on social media that she says she even learned where her father's remains were. 

<p>Courtesy of Kerri Kasem</p> Casey Kasem's Grave

Courtesy of Kerri Kasem

Casey Kasem's Grave

She says that woman-turned-friend is who will host her this week as she travels to pay her last respects. "When my father died, I said to my brother and sister, 10 years is going to go by like that, and it’s literally here," Kerri says.

Related: Inside Casey Kasem's Sad, Bizarre Final Days

The day her father died is an emotional one for Kerri for more reasons than one. “He died on Father’s Day and on World Elder Abuse Day,” she says.

When she discovered the latter, “I had chills in my body, I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “My dad couldn’t have given me a clearer sign. That’s what I believe.”

Kerri, along with her siblings Mike and Julie from Casey’s first wife Linda Myers, have long believed that he suffered elder abuse and neglect at the hands of his wife Jean. It’s something Kerri has spoken out about for a decade, including through her Audible podcast Bitter Blood, which discusses her dad’s story in depth. 

“He was isolated and she would move him to keep him from us,” Kerri claims of her stepmother, who was in charge of Casey's care as his health deteriorated. “She’d put him in a hospital, leave him there for weeks so she didn’t have to deal with him. It was horrifying.”

Kerri also claims Jean buried Casey in Norway, against his wishes to be laid to rest at Los Angeles’ popular Forest Lawn cemetery, as a final blow to her and her siblings. All of these claims, Jean strongly denies.

Jean and Casey Kasem
Jean and Casey Kasem

“Following the illness and passing of my beloved husband of almost 38 years, I have faced numerous unfounded attacks from those seeking financial gain from his estate,” she tells PEOPLE in a statement via her attorney George Braunstein.

“Throughout Casey's illness, I devoted myself to his care, striving to honor his wishes and provide him with the best possible support. Despite years of legal battles, I believed these issues had been resolved. However, Kerri continues to attack and demean me, driven solely by a desire for money and attention," the statement continues.

Related: Casey Kasem's Kids Pay Tribute to Their Dad: 'Every Word He Spoke Was 100 Percent Genuine'

Jean adds, “Rather than escalate this conflict, I want to reaffirm that my actions have always been guided by my love for Casey and my commitment to his well-being. I ensured he received the finest care and was laid to rest according to his wishes. I sincerely hope that Kerri can find peace and move forward.”

Back in 2014, the splintered family, which includes Casey and Jean's daughter Liberty, made headlines for their fight over the star's whereabouts in the days leading up to his death.

As PEOPLE reported at the time, Casey's wife checked him out of his Santa Monica medical facility against the advisement of medical staff in May of that year and transported him to a hotel in Las Vegas, before flying with him to Washington, where an ambulance transported him to a private residence.

Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images Casey Kasem
Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images Casey Kasem

"The driver of the ambulance is required to report suspicions of elder abuse to adult protective services. That's how we found [Jean and Casey] in Washington," Scott Winship, Kerri's attorney at the time, told PEOPLE. "He hadn't had appropriate medical care for about a week and had a stage 3 to stage 4 compression ulcer."

Though Kerri successfully obtained a conservatorship and was by Casey's side when he died in Washington, Jean took possession of his remains, eventually transporting them to Norway. Kerri claims that the entire debacle was the culmination of years of abuse her dad experienced.

After divorcing Linda in 1979, Casey, then 48 and at the height of his career hosting radio's American Top 40, married Jean, then 26 and an aspiring actress, in 1980. They welcomed daughter Liberty in 1990.

<p>Courtesy of Kerri Kasem</p> Casey Kasem with First Wife Linda, and Kids Kerri, Mike and Julie

Courtesy of Kerri Kasem

Casey Kasem with First Wife Linda, and Kids Kerri, Mike and Julie

"She pretended to like us," Kerri says of Jean's feelings towards her and her siblings, "until she got married and then she called us 'the other family.' There was a year where she took us to toy stores and the beach and things were fun. Then they got married and it was very clear we were not part of her family and she would say that."

Related: Casey Kasem's Wife Taking His Body to Norway Against His Children's Wishes

Kerri claims that Jean would also mistreat their father, even before his fell ill. "It was just her constantly yelling at him," she claims. "We could hear it when we were over there, it was just screaming at him. And when we talked to some of the caretakers and the housekeepers, we had them subpoenaed, and they would tell us he was screamed at every day. He was treated horribly."

Though she says she and her siblings begged her dad to leave Jean, "He loved her very much. We'd say, 'Just leave, come stay with us, give her the money,' but he wouldn't do it. He'd always say, 'It'll get better.' But towards the end, he did say he made a mistake."

<p>Courtesy of Kerri Kasem</p> Kerri and Casey Kasem

Courtesy of Kerri Kasem

Kerri and Casey Kasem

Towards the end, "He never forgot who we were," says Kerri of her dad's battle with dementia. "It was very hard because that man that had made his living using his voice could no longer speak and put thoughts into words and I could see how horrible that was for him. And I just knew he wasn't being treated well and that's what killed me."

Despite filing a wrongful death suit against Jean, the district attorney at the time decided there was insufficient evidence. Jean countersued and the family settled on terms that were not made public. "I did everything I could," says Kerri of trying to protect her father. "It's really sad and that's why I've kind of dedicated the last 10 years of my life to this cause."

<p>Courtesy of Kerri Kasem</p> Casey and Kerri Kasem

Courtesy of Kerri Kasem

Casey and Kerri Kasem

Currently Kerri is working with California senator Susan Rubio to put forth a bill strengthening laws around elder care and conservatorship practices. "Things have got to change," she says.

As she prepares to embark on her trip to Norway, Kerri says she's comforted by her and her father's shared spiritual beliefs. "My dad, like me, believed in reincarnation," she says. "So even though he's in Norway, He's like, I'm not with my body. That's not me. I'm with you."

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