A Norway woman says she fulfilled her friend's dying wish by burying her in the yard.

Vernelle Jackson talked with a reporter from WMTW-TV, saying that she and the woman, whose body was removed from her property on Tuesday, had been friends for about 20 years. The two met in the south and eventually found themselves living alone in Maine. When the elderly woman got sick, she moved into Jackson's house so she could take care of her.

Jackson says, before she died, the woman asked that she be buried in the yard, so the friends wouldn't be separated. She says her friend wasn't close to her own family in Virginia, and had always thought of Jackson as her daughter. So 18 months ago, when the woman died, Vernelle honored her friend's wishes by wrapping her body in a tarp and burying her in the backyard. Jackson says it took two days to dig the grave because of her COPD.

Police were alerted to the situation on Tuesday while doing a well-being check on the woman. Jackson says she told them the story and took the officers out to the gravesite. She explained that neither of them had insurance, that she couldn't afford a traditional burial, and that her friend had wanted to be buried on the property. Jackson says she's not sure if she's in trouble, but police did tell her that she needed a permit to bury someone on private property. The woman's body has been sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office to determine cause of death. Jackson told them it was natural causes.



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