Funeral Home Accused Of Cutting off Man’s Legs to Fit in Coffin

April 2, 2009

Sometimes the simplest solution is not always the most appropriate.

South Carolina authorities on Tuesday exhumed the body of a man and a coroner said what officials discovered has brought a criminal investigation.

Allendale County Coroner Hayzen Black said “undesirable evidence” was found after officials examined the body of James Hines, who stood 6 feet, five inches, and died in 2004 of skin cancer. Black, said rumours had long circulated that Mr Hines’s legs were removed so he would fit in a coffin which he had already ordered.

Ruth Hines who was married to James for 31 years, said she found the allegations and subsequent exhumation upsetting.

“According to the measurements on the casket, and the funeral director, we asked him, ‘Was this suitable for his length?’ and he said, ‘Yes that will be perfect,'” she said.

Mr Hines was a minister at the Revelations Ministries church. A spokesman said: “If something has happened, justice needs to be done.”

“There’s nothing bad you can say about James Hines. Everyone knew him as this huge, lovable man who was devoted to the church, his family and the community.”

Police say, if the allegations are true, the funeral home could lose its operating license.

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