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Casey Kasem: A Potentially Serious Elder Abuse Case

Garcia & Artigliere

Elder abuse has been garnering a lot of national attention these days due to the high-profile June 15 death of celebrity radio show host and voice actor Casey Kasem.

Kasem, best known as the longtime disc jockey on song countdown radio show “American Top 40,” was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in October 2013. Shortly after, it was discovered he was actually suffering from Lewy body dementia. Kasem was unable to speak for the last few months of his life, according to reports.

However, questionable behavior by Kasem’s wife Jean and the contention that exists between her and Kasem’s children (Kerri, Julie, and Mike Kasem) from his first marriage to Linda Myers are prompting an investigation by the LAPD into possible elder abuse, according to reports.

Warning signs/allegations from the situation that could potentially indicate criminal elder abuse include:

  • Jean prevented her husband’s kids, friends, and former colleagues from contacting him as his health worsened.
  • Jean removed Kasem from a Santa Monica nursing home on May 7 and took her husband on a multi-state car ride.
  • Daughter Kerri Kasem was granted temporary conservatorship over Kasem despite Jean’s objection.
  • Kasem’s whereabouts became a mystery at one point. Jean’s attorney told the court he was “no longer in the U.S.”
  • Kasem was discovered in Washington, reportedly in stable-but-critical condition in a hospital on June 6. He was found receiving antibiotics for a bedsore(s). It appeared as if he had been bedridden for a while. He also had high blood pressure.
  • Kasem’s children desire an autopsy, but Jean isn’t allowing it. Currently, Kasem’s remains are in a Scandinavian mortuary, according to a TMZ report. The body has been in Norway since August, despite the children’s attempts at getting it returned to the U.S.

While the specifics of this case are not public at this time, observations about this situation raise red flags regarding the potential presence of elder abuse:

  • Bedsores and infection involving seniors are usually signs of elder abuse. In Kasem’s case — with his career, means and multiple children available to help provide care — bedsores shouldn’t be present.
  • A caregiver who refuses to allow others to visit the elderly person is another sign of elder abuse. In Kasem’s situation, the timing seems suspicious. As his health was declining, Kasem’s wife kept family and friends away, according to reports.
  • Also, any elderly person who has a severe ailment like Lewy body dementia is at a greater risk of being a victim of elder abuse.

It will be interesting to see how this case plays out. To our firm, there seem to be clear signs of abuse at the hands of one or more parties.

Contact elder abuse attorney Stephen M. Garcia, a leader in senior abuse litigation, if you suspect an elderly person or senior may be in an abusive situation. Mr. Garcia has testified in support of legislation that protects the rights of seniors in California. Call us today for a free consultation at (800) 328-2630.


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