Lawyer: Father likely to get rights to son’s remains for burial

Hawesville Body Update

HAWESVILLE, KY (WFIE) - 27-years after his son Wesley Newton was buried in Macon, Georgia, his father Stephen Newton, wanted to bring his body to Hawesville, Kentucky.

Stephen’s father had bought a plot of land at Serenity Hills Cemetery for family to be buried together. So Stephen contacted the funeral home in Georgia to tell them what he wanted.

“I’m not guilty of anything," Stephen said. "Because like I originally told you, I called the funeral home and told them what I wanted to do, they handled everything.”

Stephen says FairHaven Funeral Home in Macon, Georgia arranged all the permits.

Wesley’s body was then exhumed December 21, Stephen picked up the body on December 22 and then drove the body to Hawesville, arriving on Christmas Eve. He says he put the body in his father’s garage until the family planned to bury the remains.

But once his ex-wife found out, Stephen says things took a turn

“She was okay with the idea about a year ago," Stephen said. “She didn’t know exactly when it was about to happen and I really didn’t either. She’s denying now that she ever gave me permission to do it or anything else.”

According to Georgia law, both parents would need to sign permits to move their child. When asked for the permits, Stephen sent permit requests to us instead.

When we asked again for the permit, he could not produce them.

“Nobody ever mentioned that there possibly being a Georgia law that states that she has to sign too," he said.

Stephen says the funeral home has taken the blame, but they would not give 14 News a comment.

“They dug the body up and everything," he said. "If she was supposed to be notified, then it wouldn’t be on me to call.”

Both KSP and Georgia officials are investigating. The body is now with the Hancock county coroner.

KSP says it’s looking into whether the permits to exhume the body were valid. We also reached back out to the mother again today, but haven’t heard back.

According to the Bill Frazier, the lawyer for the mother Carin Manusutakis, officials in Georgia have not been much help in the matter. Frazier says it does appear though the rights to the remains will be given to Stephen, which will allow him to bury his son in Hancock County.

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