Perry County relatives fight to have bodies exhumed, moved

PERRY COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - For the past three years members of the Lyons and Moody families have been denied access to the family cemetery located on Lum Lott Road in Perry County.

They say it's because of a dispute between siblings that caused a brother, Joseph Lyons to padlock the cemetery that is partially located on his property. Nellie Lyons husband Clifton and her sister's husband Richard Moody are buried in the cemetery and last year they went to court to get a ruling that would allow them to exhume the bodies and move them to another cemetery.

"My mom naturally wants to be buried by my dad, she has a double headstone that they paid for," said Theresa Smith, daughter of Clifton Lyons. "She paid for the funeral herself and the courts say the spouse has a right to place the body where they want."

The family was given a judgement by the court that they could move the bodies. Despite that judgement the brother still denied access to the cemetery. Sheriff Jimmy Dale Smith told the families that the brother  was in contempt of court, but they couldn't get involved because it was a civil matter. A sheriff's deputy did go to the property Tuesday morning to try to convince the brother to cooperate, but he was not successful. In the meantime, the families attorney's From the law firm of Londeree, Townsend, and Zemek from Petal met with the judge once again to get an order that would allow law enforcement to get involved.

"He stated in there that nobody can harass or interfere with the disinterment and you know it's supposed to be complied to according to the law, but they are not doing their part."

In the early afternoon the familie's lawyers and a sheriff's deputy returned to the property with the new order. The deputy told the brother he had no alternative but to comply.

We feel like justice has been served and it has a lot to do with our lawyers because they came through 100-percent," said Joseph Smith, son-in law. "The Perry County Sheriff's Department came through 100-percent also. They did their job, all they could do."

By the end of the day both bodies had been exhumed and moved to another cemetery just a few hundred feet up the road.

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