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Trouble Letting Go: 91-Year-Old Woman (Happily) Shared House With Dead Husband, Sister

Jean Stevens in June 2010, with 1940s picture of her and husband James (AP Photo)

Jean Stevens in June 2010, with 1940s picture of her and husband James (AP Photo)

WYALUSING, Pa. (CBS/AP)  91-year-old Pennsylvania widow Jean Stevens says she's extremely claustrophobic, so the thought of her husband and her twin sister spending eternity in one of those confining underground coffins was simply unbearable. Besides, she really wanted to still be able to see them - and, yes - talk to them. 

And that is why, when her husband, James, died a decade ago, and again after her twin, June, passed away last year, she managed to have their graves dug up and their bodies returned to her home, where could see them - and yes, talk to them.

It's also why she may soon be arrested.

According to a search warrant, the Bradford County Area Agency on Aging tipped off Pennsylvania State Police, which led to the discovery of the bodies in mid-June.

Authorities say the widow Stevens, who lives "alone" in a worn-down house in an isolated area of Wyalusing, Pa, sat her late husband James on a couch in a detached garage, while sister June was resting in a spare room off the bedroom. Jean Stevens would apparently talk to the corpses, dress them in accessories, and even spray them with their favorite perfumes.

By way of explanation, Stevens defends her actions, saying, "I think when you put them in the (ground), that's goodbye, goodbye. In this way I could touch [them] and look at [them] and talk to [them]."

As for how she pulled off this rare reclamation project, officials don't believe she acted alone.  Police say they've got several suspects who may have helped.

Stevens blames the disclosure of what she was up to on a relative of her late husband.

Both he and Stevens' deceased sister are now back in the hands of the Bradford County coroner.

Thus far, no charges have been filed against Stevens, but as Bradford County District Attorney Daniel Barrett put it, "there were some things done here that were not lawful."

Barrett also said Tuesday that if Jean Stevens builds an above ground crypt - and she's indicated she might - then she'll be able to keep possession of the loved ones she just can't let seem to go of.


  • Hannah Atkin

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