Funeral Home Accused of Cutting Legs Off Body

August 27, 2009
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image A tip that an Allendale County man had his legs cut off before he was buried led to a grave being dug up and the body examined, Tuesday. Pending the results of the investigation, criminal charges could be coming to Cave Funeral Services. When Minister James Hines died and was buried in 2004, there was word that something seriously wrong was done to his body. After years of fighting, family and investigators found out the truth today at the Ritters-Thomson Cemetery behind Revelations Ministries church.

A former Cave employee claimed Hines was too big for the casket he had paid for before his death. Not wanting to pay for a larger casket, the employee said the funeral home had the man’s legs cut off so he could fit.

As the top came off and the body was examined, the coroners and investigators determined something wasn’t right, but they wouldn’t confirm what.

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“SLED and the [South Carolina Department of] Licensing investigating has found some causes for further investigation,” said Allendale County Coroner Hayzen Black.

If county officials determine Caves broke the law with its handling of James Hines’s body, the business could be shut down by the end of the week.

Caves Funeral Services has been accused of unlawful practices in the past.

NBC Augusta 26 News went to Cave Funeral Services for comment, but they ordered us off the property.

Friends of Hines say this may finally bring closure for his family.

“It’s heart wrenching, that if something has happened, justice needs to be done,? said Rachel Jones of revelations ministries. ?For the sake of humanity, we desire that things be done right and decently, whether we are alive or weather we have deceased.”

After the autopsy, officials wrapped the body and re-buried it in a new casket.

“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.”

Hines was a minister at Revelations Ministries. Friends say he was known for his incredible musical talents and kindnes.

Article By: Steve Kuzj, NBC Augusta

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