Law | National

Susanville woman seeks court order to block husband's burial

The Fort Defiance Veterans Memorial Cemetery on the Navajo Nation. Photo from Find A Grave

A woman from the Susanville Rancheria of California is hoping to secure a federal court order to prevent the burial of her late husband on the Navajo Nation.

On Wednesday morning, Jean LaMarr, a well-known artist and activist, reluctantly sent the body of DeeRoy “Spence” Spencer to his Navajo family. She changed her mind later that afternoon but the mortuary refused to bring him back to California because of court order in New Mexico.

Spencer's body is now at a mortuary on the reservation, awaiting burial at the Fort Defiance Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Arizona. But LaMarr isn't ready to give up even though a Navajo tribal court previously sided with her late husband's family.

“It’s ridiculous and wrong of them to do this,” LaMarr told The Sacramento Bee. “I want to make sure they can’t bury him until we fight this out in federal court.”

Spencer, who died in January at the age of 69, served in the Vietnam War. He was was born on the Navajo Nation but spent most of his adult life in California. He was married to LaMarr for 47 years.

Get the Story:
Susanville man’s body shipped back to Navajo Nation (The Sacramento Bee 2/6)

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Susanville woman battles Navajo family over husband's burial (2/5)

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