Martha Jean Lambert’s case closed

A Charley reader sent word of this to me, prompting me to do my own searching. The disappearance of Martha Jean Lambert, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared from Elkton, Florida in November 1985, has been closed although her body has never been found. Martha’s brother David, who was fourteen years old at the time, got into a fight with his sister and pushed her, and she fell back onto a piece of steel which punctured her skull (ew) and killed her. David panicked over what his parents might think, buried her in a shallow grave and kept his mouth shut for the next twenty-five years. The best article I can find about this is with the St. Augustine Record.

David made his confession in September, but it hasn’t been made public till now. The police looked for Martha’s body but couldn’t find it and don’t expect to, because the abandoned college where she was buried has been bulldozed and the area completely rebuilt. No charges will be filed against David, due to his age at the time and the fact that the statute of limitations for manslaughter has expired. The Lamberts’ father is dead, and their mom is still in denial, insisting that David could never have killed his sister.

This reminds me a lot of the Robert Mayotte case. He was about twelve, I think, and was missing for over ten years and presumed abducted. Then his friends finally admitted he’d died in an accident, I think a shooting accident, on the day he disappeared and they freaked out and hid his body. I don’t remember whether any charges were filed against them. Probably not. It’s a dreadful, horrible thing to try to hide it and make the missing child’s family wait and worry and wonder all those years, but I was suppose it’s better to come forward late than never.

Rest in peace, Martha.

9 thoughts on “Martha Jean Lambert’s case closed

  1. danielle January 2, 2010 / 4:42 pm

    panicing is just an excuse; it’s a way to rationalize the harm to another person.
    How can someone have that “eat at him” for all those years? Sleep, eat, function in life as if nothing happened?

    • Emily January 3, 2010 / 6:33 pm

      It is pretty convenient that so many killers just happened to have hit (or pushed) their victim “once,” only to see the victim “fall down and hit his/her head.” And that these nebulous brain injuries seem to kill the victims instantly, with one impact. These kinds of killers watch too many movies, methinks…in real life, death rarely comes from one impact with the floor, and even if one does incur a fatal blow by falling, it’s rarely instantaneous. Just another case of a killer attempting to minimize his culpability by making a death sound like an unavoidable accident.

      • Meaghan January 4, 2010 / 1:05 pm

        I think that Martha’s death could have happened the way her brother said. They were at an abandoned building, and there was probably debris everywhere. If she did fall on a piece of metal and it punctured her skull at the back of her neck, as David claims, it would have gone right into the brain stem which controls things like breathing. She would have been out like a light.

        That’s not saying I necessarily believe David’s story — I’m just saying it’s not impossible.

  2. Justin January 2, 2010 / 6:10 pm

    I don’t think her death went down the way he said it did. I don’t doubt that he killed her, but I think he left out a lot of details and I don’t think the death is as “accidental” as he is letting on. If it really was accidental, then I think he would have broken down a lot sooner. As to what actually happened, only he knows for sure and it is pretty convenient for him that he finally confessed after the statute of limitations for manslaughter had expired. I have a couple of ugly suspicions about what might have actually happened, but they are just that. Perhaps on his death bed when he is afraid of going to hell, he might tell the whole story.

    Man, am I feeling cynical today.

    • Meaghan January 3, 2010 / 12:12 am

      Sometimes you just have to take what you can get.

  3. amy January 3, 2010 / 6:18 am

    I can buy it. They were raised in an abusive house allegedly, probably always scared of what was gonna happen to them. He may very well have been torn up over it for the past 24 years, for all we know he is a alcoholic or drug addict so we really don’t know if he has functioned normally all these years.

  4. donna January 3, 2010 / 7:59 pm

    As soon as I read the article I knew it didn’t happen the way her brother said it did. I don’t believe he buried her where he said he did. Very coniving behavior on his part for the past 24 years. Keeping that secret for so long scares the hell out of me.

  5. Sara January 3, 2010 / 9:57 pm

    Poor Martha. Aside from what her brother did or didn’t do, she was a human being and she deserves to be remembered.

  6. Emma l January 4, 2010 / 2:30 pm

    od what a depressing awful case.

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