State: Only those who believe they have an ‘excess’ headstone should file claim with Bartlett cemetery

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There was confusion at the embattled Galilee Memorial Gardens Thursday.

You'll remember several years ago the man who once ran the cemetery, Jemar Lamert, took an Alford plea after he was accused of disturbing practice allegations - including stacking bodies on top of each other.

The Bartlett cemetery is now closed as work is being done to restore the place.

Thursday is the last day to file a claim with the state if you purchased a marker at the cemetery that was never put down to represent a loved one.

However, there has been some confusion that's causing dozens of people to show up to the cemetery.

Angela Manning was one of those who were turned away at the Galilee Memorial Gardens.

"They won't let us in because they're saying it's still a crime scene," Manning said. "I'm confused, very."

Her 10-year-old grandson has been buried at Galilee Memorial Gardens since 2012. She says her family had heard something about picking up headstones.

"She called the number and is only getting a voicemail, and it's full," Manning said. "We don't know. It's confusing."

Kevin Walters, Communications Director for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, explained what's going on.

"As part of cleaning up the property we found the excess headstones, and we want people who may have purchased these headstones whenever this was run by previous owners to make a claim on these excess headstones. These are not the headstones that are there over the burial plots. I'm going to say that again, 'These are not the headstones over the burial plots.' These are the excess headstones that are located at the back of the property.If one of the names on one of those excess headstones is someone that you know, or was for a headstone for someone that you purchased, you can make a claim to secure that headstone."

Again, they want you to file a claim.

For questions and to file claims you can email or 615-370-0051.

The full list of markers that may be claimed through this process may be found here.


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