Grave Digger Cuts Coffin, Family Finds Alleged Remains

 A family called police to a grave site after finding the tattered clothing of a long buried loved one above ground Tuesday. The family says they found pieces of clothing from their deceased stepfather, buried over 40 years ago while visiting their mother's grave.

Near the freshly placed floral memorials marking the last resting place of Elvie Styers. Relatives says they noticed something out of place, a piece of cloth sprouting from the surface.

Corporal Steve Hernandez from the White County Sheriff's Office says, "Family came out to check out grave site of family and found what they believe was parts of a shirt of their stepfather buried in1970."
According to a report from the White County Sheriff's Office, along with a portion of a bluish colored shirt sleeve, the family pointed out, a small piece of a rusted coffin and what could be a bone fragment more than 40 years old.

 "This is bizarre," said Cpl. Hernandez. "I'm sure when they got here and found what they believe to be clothing and bones, I'm sure it's devastating."

In a phone interview,  Bradley Funeral Home Director Christine Lemons said,  while the grave digger only removed dirt along markers approved by the cemetery's caretaker and the family, he somehow cut into the over-sized coffin.

"It doesn't happen all the time but I have heard accidents do happen when you're in a cemetery side my side eventually, you have accidents. When you have accidents you fix it and you take care of it respectfully," said Lemons. 

Lemons added that they returned to the Gum Springs grave site, raked through the remaining dirt and re-buried the missing pieces, hoping to restore a sense peace for the grieving family.

Relatives who called police told KARK they are very distraught over what they've seen and unsatisfied with the way their loved one's remains have been handled.  According to the State Funeral Director's board each cemetery makes their own rules, there is no set standard for how to go about safely placing new coffins.

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