James Davis said he promised his wife, Patsy, that he would bury her outside their two-story log home in the northeast part of the state. After her death in April 2009, the Stevenson City Council rejected his request for a cemetery permit for his yard, but he buried her a few feet from the front porch anyway.
The city sued and he eventually lost his legal battle. A judge this week approved a plan to remove the body.
One of Patsy Davis' daughters burst into tears as the vault containing her body was lifted out of the ground. James Davis watched silently from a few feet away. Family members, the sheriff and a deputy also looked on.
Davis called the exhumation "a travesty."
"This never should have happened," said Davis, 74. "I broke no laws."
Neighbor Phyllis Matthews stood by and watched the vault containing the casket being raised.
"I'm sorry for the family, what they're going through," Matthews said. "I lost my mother back in April. I'd hate to think it was my mother they were digging up. But she's buried in a cemetery."
James Davis, who had been married to his wife for 48 years, said he now plans to cremate her remains and keep them in the house.
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