A former Limington selectman and two of his nephews are facing charges of abuse of a corpse for allegedly digging up the cremated remains of two relatives in Standish and moving them to another cemetery.
Calvin Lewis, 71, of Limington – who served as a selectman in the 1970s – Travis Lewis, 37, of Hiram, and Kevin Lewis, 42, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, were issued a summons to appear Nov. 18 in Bridgton District Court on the misdemeanor charge, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.
The three men are accused of digging up the remains of Richard W. Lewis, brother of Calvin and father of Travis and Kevin, and moving his ashes to Maple Hill Cemetery in Limington to be closer to members of the family. They didn’t want to leave the remains of his son, Richard Trent Lewis buried alone, so they moved him as well, deputies said.
The incident came to light in July after Kevin Lewis ran into the widow of Richard Trent Lewis in Wal-Mart and told her that her husband had been moved and was no longer where she believed he was.
The widow, who was not identified in court records, called the sheriff’s office. She told investigators that when Richard W. Lewis died in 2003, she and her husband were left to deal with the funeral arrangements. They purchased a plot in the Steep Falls Cemetery on Route 114, had him cremated and interred the remains. Other family members did not participate in the funeral, she said.
When Richard Trent Lewis, the father of her two young children, died in a motorcycle accident in 2007, she was left to pay for his burial on her own. Strapped for cash, she and her children dug the hole at the cemetery themselves, placing the urn and its ashes inside, she told investigators.
Her husband’s death drew attention at the time because his body was not found for several days after he went missing, precipitating a large search. He eventually was found near Boothby Road in Limington, where his apparent crash had left him and his motorcycle partially hidden.
The widow was upset that she and her children had been visiting the graves of the children’s father and grandfather – only to find out they were no longer buried there, she told deputies.
State law says a person is guilty of abusing a corpse if they unlawfully dig up, remove or destroy a human corpse or human ashes.
Investigators say the three men had searched the Steep Falls Cemetery in order to carry out their plan, but couldn’t find where the two relatives were buried. Calvin Lewis then visited Standish Town Hall and asked for the location of the burial sites, telling officials he planned to place a headstone on the unmarked plot, the sheriff’s office said.
Instead, the three allegedly used shovels to dig up the remains of the two men and move them to the plot in Limington last fall.
After determining the men did not have permission to move the remains, deputies had them dig the urns up again, the sheriff’s office said. Once the remains were certified as those of Richard and Trent Lewis, they were returned to their original resting place Aug. 2, with a sheriff’s deputy helping to rebury them.
The three were each issued a court summons on Saturday.
None of the men charged could be reached for comment Wednesday.