Galilee Memorial Gardens Cemetery closed; Jemar Lambert charged - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Cemetery shut down; owner charged with abuse of a corpse

Posted: Updated:
Jemar Lambert (Source: Shelby County Jail / February 2012) Jemar Lambert (Source: Shelby County Jail / February 2012)
A temporary restraining order was filed since Lambert's most recent arrest, shutting down cemetery operations. A temporary restraining order was filed since Lambert's most recent arrest, shutting down cemetery operations.
BARTLETT, TN -

(WMC-TV) - A cemetery is shut down after the owner was arrested, accused of "burying multiple bodies in the same graves without proper permission to do so."

Jemar Lambert, 38, who owns Galilee Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Bartlett, is charged with theft of property and abuse of a corpse.

This is not Lambert's first arrest.

Last year, he was charged with selling burial plots to families on land he did not own, which sat adjacent to the cemetery.

A temporary restraining order was filed since Lambert's most recent arrest, shutting down cemetery operations.

"We are sensitive to the importance of Galilee Memorial Gardens to countless families and to our community," Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich said in a written statement. "We will continue working with the Department of Commerce and Insurance to resolve this situation respectfully and effectively."

The search warrant was issued after an investigation that began when a search for a missing body led those helping in the search to file a report to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI). That report "indicated the cemetery had improperly buried the remains of three individuals in the same grave on March 9 and March 12 of last year."

In a statement provided by the TDCI, Commissioner Julie McPeak said, "We believe that the owners and proprietors of Galilee Memorial Gardens cannot act in the best interest of the community. Know that we are working alongside the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office to identify the extent of issues with Galilee."

Friday's new movement in the case against Galilee Memorial Gardens in Bartlett means another step toward possible justice for those with loved ones buried in the cemetery.

Ronica Matthews kept a program from her mother Earnestine's funeral last summer. She was buried at Galilee alongside other family members.

"There's no telling what's going on underneath the surface," she said. 'We kept getting the runaround as to where exactly the plot was ... Life is precious and even in death you still have to honor people, and I can't even fathom how they can put people through more stress, more pain, more anguish."

Investigators spent Friday searching the Galilee office while state officials secured a temporary restraining order for the cemetery's immediate closure.

Meanwhile, burials planned for this weekend cannot proceed for now.

The TDCI is prepared to handle questions regarding any upcoming burials. If you need to reach Burial Services, call 615-741-5062.

Copyright 2014 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • April Mugshots

    April Mugshots

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-04-15 15:48:25 GMT
    James SiebenthalJames Siebenthal
    The following are mugshots and charges of individuals arrested between April 1-4 by the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.More >>
    The following are mugshots and charges of individuals arrested between April 1-4 by the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.More >>
  • 7-year-old girl writes book after mother's death

    7-year-old girl writes book after mother's death

    Friday, April 18 2014 8:31 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:31:56 GMT
    (WMC-TV) - Most 7-year-old girls are playing dress up and reading books, but one Mid-South girl is the exception—not just reading but writing books. Shiloh Sanders talked about the inspiration behind herMore >>
    Most 7-year-old girls are playing dress up and reading books, but one Mid-South girl is the exception—not just reading but writing books.More >>
  • Teen killed in crash after prom

    Teen killed in crash after prom

    Saturday, April 19 2014 3:47 PM EDT2014-04-19 19:47:48 GMT
    (WMC-TV) - A young man's life was taken too soon. It was supposed to be a high school memory of a lifetime for Andrew Archer, but prom night turned into a tragic night for his family and friends. His promMore >>
    It was supposed to be a high school memory of a lifetime for Andrew Archer, but prom night turned into a tragic night for his family and friends.More >>
Powered by WorldNow