A Bartlett, Tenn., cemetery has been shut down and its owner, Jemar Lambert (pictured), has been arrested and charged with corpse abuse and theft. The state cracked down on Lambert, after reportedly being deluged with complaints that he had been “burying multiple bodies in the same graves without permission to do so,” according to WMC-TV.
Lambert, who owns the 9-acre Galilee Memorial Gardens Cemetery, allegedly crushed caskets to stack them in to a single gravesite to make room for new caskets to be placed on top in a single plot. The 38-year-old owner’s allegedly poor record keeping and casket crushing resulted in misplaced bodies and unidentified graves, according to police and state officials.
One unidentified funeral director from Little Rock told WMC-TV he actually witnessed one worker, “Use the back wheel of the back-hoe to crush a casket by driving back and forth over it.” The man then went on to allege that he saw another employee, “Climb in to the open grave sites and peel back casket lids from stacked caskets to observe corpses’ faces” in an effort to try to identify the remains.
Two sisters, Taneshia, and Shalessha Scott, who buried their mom back in 2009, have searched for her gravesite and cannot locate it. “When I first heard about it, my heart sank, because I was like, Oh my gosh, my mom is out there,” Taneshia told WMC-TV. “My mom was a very sweet lady. She didn’t deserve it. No one deserves this. I don’t wish this on anyone. It’s terrible.”
According to Tennessee’s Department of Commerce and Insurance, who oversee the funeral homes and cemetery industries, they have petitioned for receivership to take over the establishment.
The hearing for the state’s petition is on the books for February 6.
Watch news coverage about Jemar Lambert’s Galilee Memorial Gardens Cemetery here.