Hardly the modern day Burke and Hare, however the crime of digging up and removing ashes under the law in is the same: abuse of a corpse
Three men in he US have been in charged with ‘grave robbing’ after they dug up the cremated remains of two of their relatives in order to move them to another cemetery in Maine.
Kevin Lewis, Travis Lewis (and their uncle Calvin) dug up the remains of their father and brother (Richard Lewis Snr and Jnr) from a cemetery in Standish in order to move them to the family plot in Limington.
The incident came to light when one of the brothers informed the ex-partner of Richard Lewis Jnr – who is also the mother of his children – of what they had done. She was not happy about this and informed the authorities. She had bought the original plot in Standish and it would appear wished him to remain there.
Kevin Lewis, told the Portland Press Herald that they thought they ‘had a right’ to move family members and the graves were not marked where they were. He said: ‘My father’s parents are there [in Limington] and it’s where everybody else will be buried,’ “We did dig them up and move them, but she didn’t pay for my father’s funeral,” he said. He said eight people attended his father’s interment. “We appreciated what this woman did,” Kevin Lewis said. “Everything she did was really polite, very nice.” He said the family and his brother’s ex-girlfriend have gotten along well.
The remains were returned to their original resting place in Standish in August 2014.
The men have been issued a summons to appear in Bridgton District Court on November 18 on a charge of abuse of a corpse.
Quite a sad tale, I will report on the outcome of the trial. I do have a certain sympathy for the Brothers, but I am thinking that their excuse isn’t the best of ever heard, but I guess they decided to act as they new the correct channels would be expensive and likely to be difficult (if not fruitless).
The moral of the story: the law does not differentiate between ashes and physical remains copse, so think in advance and do it properly mess up.