PAYETTE COUNTY, Idaho — KTVB's Joe Parris has taken a closer look into the controversy in Payette County over the burial of a man who recently died from cancer.
Doyle Beckmon was buried in his backyard last week, but some family and friends say they are unhappy and concerned with how the burial was done.
"I just didn't think it was right, it's not the way you are supposed to do things," said Beckmon’s friend, Archie Havens.
During a small ceremony, Beckmon was honored and buried last week in his backyard in Payette County.
The ceremony was arranged by Beckmon's romantic partner, who also had power of attorney.
She said that the backyard burial was what they had decided on together long before he died of cancer.
Some friends and family, however, were upset by the burial. They said it was not right to bury him in his yard.
Beckmon's son, Mitchell, said he was also very upset to find out about the backyard burial. He said he was surprised to find it was legal in Payette County.
"Moving forward I’d like to see at least some regulations put in place to allow people to bury their dead as they wish," Mitchell said.
Others also have concerns about the legality of it all in Idaho.
So, what laws are there in Idaho? Legal expert and former Idaho Attorney General Dave Leroy breaks it down.
"Idaho doesn't have a specific statute about private burials on private property about essentially our laws say that if you have a death certificate, that is duly registered, that you may bury someone in the backyard. Kind of a throwback to the Wild West tradition," Leroy said.
A death certificate is generally completed after a death by an attending physician, or the county coroner if a death happens away from medical care.
Leroy said after getting the proper death certificate, again, Idaho has no law preventing a burial on private property, but your local city or county might.
"Generally speaking, I would expect in the absence of state law that there will not be a great number of prohibitions with regards to county or city ordinance," Leroy said. "Nevertheless, there may be set some other modest requirements."
Mitchell Beckmon said that he isn't sure what his father wanted in death, but if this is what he wanted, he respects that decision.
He believes, however, that burials on private property should have more strict guidelines.
"That's the important thing: To honor your loved one's wishes," he said. "If they want to be buried in the backyard, fine. Document it, notarize it, file it.