Husband and twin sister keep Jean Stevens company, even after death

. Monday, July 5

Jean Stevens holding a photo of her and her husband, Jimmy.

The story begins on June 15 when state police, warrant in hand, searched the home of Jean Stevens, 91, on Old Stagecoach Road in Wyalusing, Penn. Two social workers from the Area Agency on Aging called in the tip when Stevens showed her the body of her twin sister.

The search of the home and the detached garage resulted in the discovery of two bodies: Jimmy Stevens, who died May 21, 1999 and was buried in a local cemetery, and June Stevens, Jean’s twin sister who died Oct. 3, 2009 and was buried on the family property, Jean’s back yard.

During a press release on June 17, it was shown that the requested warrant was based on three state crime codes - institutional vandalism, desecration of venerated objects and abuse of a corpse.

On June 19, the investigation led the police to dig up the graves of Stevens’ husband and twin sister. They found empty coffins and came to believe that Stevens asked someone to dig up the bodies for her within days of burial.

Bradford County, Pennsylvania District Attorney Dan Barrett stated on July 1 that the most serious charges to file in the case are citations for health code violations, the only applicable crime involved.

“The 91-year-old widow lived by herself in a tumbledown house on a desolate country road,” writes AP’s Michael Rubinkham. “But she wasn't alone, not really, not as long as she could visit her husband and twin sister. No matter they were already dead.”

While some of the headlines paint a macabre picture of Jean Stevens by using words such as “mummified remains” and “bizarre case,” Rubinkham instead found a pleasant, open woman who is ambivalent about the existence of God, is profoundly claustrophobic and extremely afraid of death. It is for this reason that authorities rationalize the reason Stevens kept her husband and twin sister near; there is nothing after death, it is just the end. As her near-century story goes, she and her twin married brothers and were extremely close throughout their lives.

"I'd go in, and I'd talk, and I'd forget," Stevens said, talking about her sister and husband. "I put glasses on her. When I put the glasses on, it made all the difference in the world. I would fix her up. I'd fix her face up all the time. …I could see him, I could look at him, I could touch him. Now, some people have a terrible feeling, they say, 'Why do you want to look at a dead person? Oh my gracious. Well, I felt differently about death."

This week, when the investigation wraps up and police confer with the district attorney, the identity of the person suspected of exhuming the bodies of the husband and sister will be revealed.

UPDATE: July 6
Pa. woman may keep corpses if she builds crypt

A 91-year-old woman found living with the corpses of her husband and twin sister will be allowed to keep them if she installs a mausoleum or crypt, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Jean Stevens has indicated through her attorney that she plans to build an aboveground vault on her property to store the bodies of James Stevens and June Stevens, according to Bradford County District Attorney Daniel Barrett.

"If she does that, the bodies will be released for that purpose," he said. "Otherwise they will be re-interred." Associated Press