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Neighbors Offer Help To Woman So Broke She Buried Her Husband In Backyard

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When Thomas Winn, 63, died last May, his wife Yvonne Winn didn't have the money to buy him a casket or any kind of proper burial. So she double-bagged his body and dug a grave in her own backyard.

Even though the backyards in her Apple Valley neighborhood have see-through chain-link fences, she managed to bury her husband without attracting any attention—until this week. Deputies came to conduct a welfare check on her husband and Winn admitted that he was long-dead and buried, according to The Daily Bulletin.

Neither authorities nor her neighbors have any reason to doubt her story of being too broke to give her husband a funeral. Her husband had been sick for some time, and authorities couldn't find any signs of foul play. Burying a body anywhere but a cemetery is illegal, but authorities said they don't plan to cite her, although they are conducting an autopsy on the body just in case.

When authorities dug up Thomas Winn's body it was quite a scene that unfolded in full view of neighbors. Neighbor Colin Wilson told The Bulletin, "I saw her kneel down near where the cops started digging and she just broke down. She was obviously devastated."

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Other neighbors described the smell of the exhumation as "rancid," according to NBC Los Angeles.

But they were very sympathetic to her plight. One neighbor Emily Wilson started a fundraising page to make sure that Winn gets a proper burial. So far the fundraiser has brought in over $2,623 of its $3,000 goal.

Cremation can cost $600 and burials are usually much more. Authorities are telling people that if they're strapped for cash, they should reach out to family, friends or a church if they need help with the costs of burying a loved one. But if those aren't options, the coroner's office will cremate a body for free if you go through an application process and qualify. Last year, San Bernardino County performed 312 cremations for people whose family and friends couldn't afford it, according to the Los Angeles Times.