Missing DJ Casey Kasem: 'Stepmum never wanted us involved'

SINGAPORE - Local radio DJ Mike Kasem says he has lost contact with his famous father, American radio icon Casey Kasem, after he and his two sisters could not locate the senior man at a Santa Monica hospital last week.

On Monday, his older sister, Kerri, was named by a Los Angeles court as temporary conservator for their father, who suffers from advanced Parkinson's disease.

The latest turn of events is linked to their estranged stepmother, Jean, who is involved in a legal tussle with them over visitation and caretaking of their father.

The United States-born Mike, 40, is not surprised that things have developed this way between him and his two sisters and Jean, whom Casey married in 1980.

Now a DJ with local radio station Class 95FM, he told Life!: "From day one, we were pretty convinced she never wanted us to be involved. We were so young then, she couldn't say she didn't want to hang out with your kids. It was a slow progression, about 20 years ago it got to a point where we knew she had no interest in ever seeing us.

"When we used to go over to the house to visit dad, she would always say she's sick and stay in her room, or she would leave the house."

"Then it got to a point where we weren't welcome to visit the house. He was dropped off at my sister Julie's house and we would visit him there. The visitations got rarer and rarer till they stopped."

Mike and his two US-based sisters Kerri, 41, and Julie, 38, are perplexed over their stepmother's behaviour.

He added: "Why did this escalate, I don't know. We have talked to her maybe twice in 20 years.

"I don't know why she's doing what she's doing. I get asked all the time. That is the biggest question that everybody has for us, why is she upset with you. We just don't know."

The final straw for the Kasem siblings came last week when their dad went missing.

On Monday, Kerri, a radio and TV host in the US, was granted temporary conservatorship, which makes her Casey's guardian till the next hearing in June 20. However, Casey and Jean were nowhere to be found.

The last time he had seen his 82-year-old dad was via Skype when he called at around 4am two weeks ago.

"My sisters had just gone to the nursing home to see him. He was so happy and excited to see us. When my sisters left, he said don't go."

"When I got my 20-minute visits back with him in December, a security guard was there, he heard my dad saying things to the effect of how much he loves us and how much he wants us there," added Mike, who flew to US to visit his family last December.

"Longing to see his dad and tired of the problems he had with his stepmother, Mike said he signed a visitation settlement with her last year that entitled him to see his dad for a "pathetic few hours a year".

This is not the first time the Kasem family feud has made headlines in the US.

News articles reported of how Jean allegedly denied Mike and his sisters, children of Casey's first wife singer- actress Linda Myers, access to their father.

Casey's fortune is said to be worth US$80 million (S$100 million).

Saying that their dad is "incapable of giving any sort of direction as to where money should go", Mike added: "We all have our own careers, we're all successful in our own right. My sister is a physician assistant, my sister's husband is a leading cardiologist. My older sister has three successful radio shows."

An earlier report said that Casey had told Mike and his sisters that he was not including them in his will "to respect Jean's wishes". All Mike wants, he said, is to make sure his dad is safe now.

He said: "If this keeps going on, and we can't see him, we'll take every step necessary to make sure we get him back."

This article was published on May 15 in The Straits Times.

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