NOBLE, GA (Times Free Press) -- When the bodies started to pile up, Tim Mason wrestled with panic and disbelief.

He wanted to believe that his parents' bodies weren't among those thrown out, exposed to the elements and left to rot in the backyard of a crematory in the unincorporated town of Noble, Ga.

Like hundreds of other sons, daughters, mothers and fathers who had followed the wishes of someone they loved, who had sent their bodies off to become ashes, Mason wanted to know that, in the end, they had been honored.

The only way to be certain was to dig up their remains. And when he did so with a backhoe, carefully, so as not to disturb nearby sites, he found nothing of his parents in the graves he had visited for nearly seven years.

Read more on the story from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.