Houston Man Sues Funeral Home After Wife's Casket Surfaces During Flood

06/02/2015 07:33 pm ET | Updated Jun 02, 2015

A Houston man is suing the cemetery where his wife was buried eight years ago after the woman's casket rose up out of the ground during recent floods that wreaked havoc in Texas.

High waters caused a coffin containing the remains of Carolyn Joyce Fobbs-Lee to rise to the surface last week at Riceville Cemetery in southwest Houston. The coffin traveled 150 feet and ended up on a concrete hiking trail along the bayou, KHOU reports.

Richard Lee, the deceased woman's husband, said the cemetery told him he'd have to pay a discounted burial fee before the casket could be placed back underground.

richard lee casket

Lee, 65, and his wife were married for 37 years before she died of lung disease in 2007 at the age of 57.

He said the tragedy never should have happened because his wife was interred in a sealed concrete vault, according to Newser.

Lee's lawyer, Annie McAdams, said her client paid more than $11,000 for the vault, which should have held up against flood waters.

"Clearly something went wrong here," McAdams told the Houston Chronicle. "Bodies are not supposed to come up."

McAdams told the paper an expert she hired to examine the vault said it had been inadequately sealed and lacked the proper holes which would let water pass in and out in a flood.

Lee filed the lawsuit after getting little help from the cemetery or its owner, Riceville Mt. Olive Baptist Church.

Neither the cemetery nor the church have responded to Lee's allegations, and didn't immediately return calls for comment from The Huffington Post.

Though a rival business, George Lewis Funeral Homes, has offered to rebury Lee's wife at no cost, McAdams says her client still wants his wife to be re-buried at Riceville Cemetery.

"That's their home church, they were married there. They were parishioners for over 30 years," McAdams told "When Mr. Lee talks about the church, that's his family, that's his home and he wants to be buried next to her."

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