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Family Sues Bartlett Cemetery For Losing Body

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(Memphis) A Mid-South family is hoping a lawsuit will help them find their loved one's body that a Bartlett cemetery is accused of losing.

It’s left a family with nowhere to visit Renisha Johnson, a mother of a 7-year-old .

The attorney who filed the suit says it wasn't just to get justice for the family, but also to send a strong message to the State to close the cemetery down.

“The family is left with no other choice,” said attorney Howard Manis.

Manis filed the lawsuit on behalf of Joe Johnson, a father so upset he needed a friend to speak for him.

“Besides the fact it was a tragedy already, he entrusted them,” said Gwendolyn Barr.

Johnson's daughter was murdered in April and now Reinsha Johnson’s body can't be found in the cemetery.

“Not only have they lost their daughter, the crime has not been solved, you have a young child without a mother and now we have a family doesn't even know where their loved ones remains exist,” said Manis.

Manis is suing Galilee Memorial Gardens and Christian Funeral Directors, which were supposed to provide a grave marker, because he says the cemetery has no idea where Renisha is buried.

On top of that, the cemetery itself is operating without a license, so Manis says it was illegal for it to even bury Renisha in the first place.

Yet the cemetery continues to do business.

“I received a call Friday from another family.”

The owner of Galilee, Jemar Lambert, is already fighting theft charges in court for allegedly burying dozens bodies on someone else's property.

WREG tried to get his side of the story, but Lambert didn't answer the door or return our phone calls.

Manis hopes the lawsuit will offer Renisha's family answers and force the State to take action.

“It needs to be closed and some pressure needs to be put on the State of Tennessee to do their job.”

Galilee Memorial Gardens has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. Manis hopes to go to trial shortly after that.