Funeral director: Caskets crushed, stacked in single grave sites
(WMC-TV) - Investigators accuse a cemetery owner of poor record keeping and crushing caskets to stack them into a single grave site in an effort to bury people in a full cemetery.
Maurice Amerson, whose mother is buried at Galillee Memorial Gardens in Bartlett, cannot believe the horror story of charges against the cemetery owner, Jemar Lambert.
"That's sickening. That's totally sickening, and I can't believe it. I really can't," said Amerson.
An affidavit from the District Attorney office reveals Lambert ordered cemetery workers, named Boo and Juicy, to open graves and identify remains.
One funeral director from Little Rock said he saw "caskets that had been crushed and stacked in single grave sites." He said he also saw one worker "use the back wheel of the back-hoe to crush a casket by driving back and forth over it."
Investigators say the caskets were being crushed to make room for new caskets on top in a single plots.
The funeral director claims he also saw an employee "climb into the open grave sites and peel back casket lids from stacked caskets to observe decedents faces" in an attempt to identify remains.
Investigators charged Lambert with abuse of a corpse and theft over $1,000 in connection with operations at the nine-acre cemetery. The DA shut the cemetery down Friday.
Families with concerns should call the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Burial Services Section in Nashville at 615-741-5062.
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