It was an anonymous crimestoppers call that started all the trouble. The caller said a man had been buried alive at a rural Grays Creek home. When the family was less than helpful, deputies became even more suspicious.
Major Ray Davis of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said they were told that the family was in a "situation", and asked to be allowed to handle things on their own.
Deputies found the unmarked grave in the woods behind the house where 53-year-old David Kersey had lived. His body was exhumed to determine the cause of death.
After further investigation, detectives determined it was a proper burial. Kersey was buried in a coffin he made before he died. The grave was six feet deep, but it was not on family owned land and since authorities were never contacted, a death certificate was never issued.
"With social security and these things, you have to notify the authorities a death has occurred," said funeral director Bob Sullivan.
An autopsy revealed Kersey died of liver cancer. It was his last wish to be buried near the place he had lived for 30 years.
"They should have done it properly if they wanted to bury him there," said neighbor Julia Bolton.
Neighbors respect the final wish but would have liked it done the right way. The Kersey family could face misdemeanor charges.
After all the legal issues were handled late Wednesday, Kersey was returned to the final resting place where he wished to be buried. The property is owned by a family friend.