Several families with loved ones buried at the now-defunct Galilee Memorial Gardens have been calling for days, trying to get answers about a recent press release that they must pick up headstones or grave markers by May 17.
After not being able to get through via phone or email to the company managing the cemetery, they began calling or messaging The Bartlett Express for answers.
The Bartlett Express now has an update directly from Special Deputy Receiver Robert E. Moore Jr., who is overseeing the property, this morning: He said it’s not necessary for families to claim grave markers or headstones that were already placed at their loved ones’ grave sites.
The claiming process only applies to a stack of markers/headstones that were found stored in a shed on the cemetery property.
Moore’s company, Receivership Management Inc., had no records from the cemetery’s previous owner about who might own those unused markers/headstones. The company is trying to do the right thing and get the markers to the rightful owners.
Moore also noted that his company has been answering calls and emails as much as possible, but they are currently dealing with a deluge of requests for information.
The Bartlett cemetery hit the news in 2014 when owner Jemar Lambert was arrested on allegations that the business mishandled corpses (including stacking coffins in the same grave plot because of the scarcity of space in the cemetery), as well as having inaccurate financial and burial records. The story grew when news broke that Lambert illegally buried some bodies on adjacent land he didn’t own. In 2015 he pleaded guilty and received 10 years’ probation.
Galilee Memorial Gardens is currently in receivership with the Department of Commerce and Insurance through the Chancery Court of Davidson County.
People can check online to see if they need to claim a marker or headstone found in storage at the cemetery. The full list of markers that may be claimed are listed online at https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/commerce/documents/regboards/funeral/posts/MarkerInventoryUnknownCemetery.pdf.
All other inquiries, including those regarding making claims, regarding the Cemetery should be directed to Robert E. Moore Jr., Receivership Management Inc., at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (615) 370-0051.