FL MARTHA JEAN LAMBERT: Missing from St. Augustine, FL - 27 November 1985 - Age 12

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3952DFFL - Martha Jean Lambert
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The images on the right have been age-progressed to 24 and 29 years.

Name: Martha Jean Lambert
Case Classification: Endangered Missing
Missing Since: November 27, 1985
Location Last Seen: Elkton, St. Johns County, Florida

Physical Description
Date of Birth: March 26, 1973
Age: 12 years old
Race: White
Gender: Female
Height: 4'5"
Weight: 70 lbs.
Hair Color: Blonde, Shoulder Length
Eye Color: Blue
Distinguishing Marks/Features: Birthmarks on the front of her right thigh and on her upper left chest, Protruding front teeth

Identifiers
Dentals: Available
Fingerprints: Not Available
DNA: Available

Clothing & Personal Items
Clothing: Matching two-piece bathing suit
Jewelry: Unknown
Additional Personal Items: Unknown

Circumstances of Disappearance
Martha Lambert, a 7th grade student at Ketterlinus Junior High, was last seen at her family's mobile home in Elkton, Florida on November 27, 1985. She spent time at a neighbor's residence after school, then returned to her home to have a small dinner with her brother. She has never been seen or heard from again. Martha's family life was troubled, she had spent much of her life in different foster homes. Her brothers had also ran away previously from their home. In 2009 Martha's brother confessed to accidentally killing her during an argument, then panicked and buried her in a 3-foot grave, at the old Florida Memorial College site near their home.

Lambert said he and his sister were fighting over $20. Martha slapped him and he pushed her back. She fell and landed on a piece of steel that went through the base of her skull, killing her. Lambert led police to the site, but no remains were found. Police dug up the area and brought in dogs during an extensive search in September 2009, but they couldn't find Martha's remains. The overgrown, wooded property had been cleared of buildings in the years since her disappearance. Because authorities believe it was an accident, because Lambert was 15 at the time and because manslaughter charges had a statute of limitations in 1985, he will not be charged and the case will be closed unless new evidence surfaces. He later recanted his statements and said he did not know what happened to Martha. Martha's mother believes she was kidnapped.

Investigating Agency(s)
Agency Name: St. Johns County Sheriff's Office
Agency Contact Person: Eugene Tolbert
Agency Phone Number: 904-824-8304
Agency E-Mail: N/A
Agency Case Number: 271329

NCIC Case Number: M-293192969
NCMEC Case Number: 601793
NamUs Case Number: 6278

Information Source(s)
NamUs
Life Daily

Admin Notes
Added: 3/19/19; Last Updated: 3/19/19

edited by staff to add media link
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Mel70

Special specialist
There have been so many lies and misdirection in this case it's ridiculous. And of course nothing has panned out. I wish someone would tell the truth about that night. But I don't think that's going to happen
 

Mel70

Special specialist
I just can't help but doubt the family. It was so dysfunctional. The father being alcoholic. The brother saying he killed her by accident. Sent LE on a wild goose chase for her body. Her being in Foster care off and on. Etc. I don't think the Mother has anything to do with it. But he may not want to see things of her family.
 

Whatsnext

Carpe diem
I still think it was most likely her brother, but then he got scared and didn't give them the right location. Just my opinion, and absolutely no proof for it, sadly. I would just love for her mother to have her back.
 

GrandmaBear

Deputized Emu Slayer/Horse Thief Hunter
I don't know what to think but I also tend to believe the brother did something, whether what happened or where is entirely the truth is hard to say. Not very confident in this case she will ever be found but I hope she is.
 
I don't know what to think but I also tend to believe the brother did something, whether what happened or where is entirely the truth is hard to say. Not very confident in this case she will ever be found but I hope she is.
I don’t think he did anything but I think he saw something he doesn’t want to talk about. Through my research on this case I’ve spoken with people who have filled me in more on David. He appears to have mental issues and from the looks of it, police gave him a very hard time from the start. I think they used David as a “scapegoat” so they could close Martha’s case. Most people from the area that I’ve spoken to says they don’t believe the police did enough to search for Martha both in the past and more recently.
 
Unfortunately her mother will never get earthly justice as she passed away just a few months back without having an answer. I’ve been in contact with Martha’s oldest brother, Raymond. He is trying to find her as well and hopes to raise a reward for information leading to her whereabouts. Her extended family would also love an answer as its haunted them all for decades.

With the help of a few great people, we’ve definitely found a few people that should be asked about Martha. I’ve narrowed the suspect list down to three people in total and none of them are David. His confession has nothing to go off of and there isn’t even any circumstantial evidence that links him to his sisters disappearance.
 
I’ve read other cases where people have falsely confessed due to mental issues and badgering by police. I’ll use the case of Michele Dorr for example.

Little Michele Dorr went missing from her backyard in Maryland on May 31st 1986. She was believed to have gone to play in the wading pool in her backyard while her father, Carl Dorr, was inside the house. She disappeared and he reported her missing hours later.

Carl became the prime suspect in her disappearance within a week and was constantly bothered by police. He admitted twice to killing Michele and even said he left her body in a sewer. The confessions were false and a detective even admitted to toying with his emotions.

“Eleven years ago, Michele's father was the primary suspect. The weight of the investigation crushed him -- left him temporarily insane -- as months passed and he was neither arrested nor cleared. Hadden Clark was a suspect, too, though a lesser one -- until years later, after he killed Laura Houghteling for no sane reason.”

this article is from when Michele was still missing, you can read more into the case if you would like: https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/local/longterm/library/dorr/dorr1.htm

Carl remained a suspect in the case until 1992 when authorities named Hadden Clark as a suspect. He was already charged with killing another woman, Laura Houghteling. He later admitted to being Michele’s true killer.

Michele never went to the pool, she went to her playmates house a short distance from her own home and wanted to invite her friend over to swim. Her friends uncle was Hadden and he was living with them at the time. Hadden was home when Michele knocked on the door asking for her playmate.

Hadden told investigators he killed Michele in her friends room by slicing her throat open, nearly decapitating her and he drank her blood. Police later found dried blood in the floorboards of her friends room after he was named a suspect.

Witnesses saw him carrying the duffel bag containing Michele's body out of the house and placing it in his vehicles truck. He buried her body in a park 12 miles away. Her body was found after he led police to the location in 1999.
 

GrandmaBear

Deputized Emu Slayer/Horse Thief Hunter
I don’t think he did anything but I think he saw something he doesn’t want to talk about. Through my research on this case I’ve spoken with people who have filled me in more on David. He appears to have mental issues and from the looks of it, police gave him a very hard time from the start. I think they used David as a “scapegoat” so they could close Martha’s case. Most people from the area that I’ve spoken to says they don’t believe the police did enough to search for Martha both in the past and more recently.
I admit not to having a fresh recollection on this one other than just reading again what was here. You clearly are more up on the case.

The brother seemed to more than once want to confess, even in later years, which is why I lean that way, along with that he had seen her in the general time frame or even saw her last. Then there was the remark about his laugh and it still bothering the mother that she didn't know what the laugh was about. I certainly am not sure nor know enough to be sure.

Sad about her mother.
 

Mel70

Special specialist
Unfortunately her mother will never get earthly justice as she passed away just a few months back without having an answer. I’ve been in contact with Martha’s oldest brother, Raymond. He is trying to find her as well and hopes to raise a reward for information leading to her whereabouts. Her extended family would also love an answer as its haunted them all for decades.

With the help of a few great people, we’ve definitely found a few people that should be asked about Martha. I’ve narrowed the suspect list down to three people in total and none of them are David. His confession has nothing to go off of and there isn’t even any circumstantial evidence that links him to his sisters disappearance.
Was Raymond her only brother other than David?. Was he the one I saw a few Mths back that was an ex minister IIRC?.
 

Mel70

Special specialist
I’ve read other cases where people have falsely confessed due to mental issues and badgering by police. I’ll use the case of Michele Dorr for example.

Little Michele Dorr went missing from her backyard in Maryland on May 31st 1986. She was believed to have gone to play in the wading pool in her backyard while her father, Carl Dorr, was inside the house. She disappeared and he reported her missing hours later.

Carl became the prime suspect in her disappearance within a week and was constantly bothered by police. He admitted twice to killing Michele and even said he left her body in a sewer. The confessions were false and a detective even admitted to toying with his emotions.

“Eleven years ago, Michele's father was the primary suspect. The weight of the investigation crushed him -- left him temporarily insane -- as months passed and he was neither arrested nor cleared. Hadden Clark was a suspect, too, though a lesser one -- until years later, after he killed Laura Houghteling for no sane reason.”

this article is from when Michele was still missing, you can read more into the case if you would like: https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/local/longterm/library/dorr/dorr1.htm

Carl remained a suspect in the case until 1992 when authorities named Hadden Clark as a suspect. He was already charged with killing another woman, Laura Houghteling. He later admitted to being Michele’s true killer.

Michele never went to the pool, she went to her playmates house a short distance from her own home and wanted to invite her friend over to swim. Her friends uncle was Hadden and he was living with them at the time. Hadden was home when Michele knocked on the door asking for her playmate.

Hadden told investigators he killed Michele in her friends room by slicing her throat open, nearly decapitating her and he drank her blood. Police later found dried blood in the floorboards of her friends room after he was named a suspect.

Witnesses saw him carrying the duffel bag containing Michele's body out of the house and placing it in his vehicles truck. He buried her body in a park 12 miles away. Her body was found after he led police to the location in 1999.
I know about "Hadden Clark". He's a sicko. Murdering Laura. Dressing in women's clothes, Wearing a wig walking from crime scene. They found wig hairs in Laura's brush. I read his Diary. It is extremely disturbing.
 
Old article (1999) - Martha Jean Lambert

Little Girl Lost 06/04/1999

Family remains hopeful 14 years after disappearance of daughter
By PETER GUINTA

She would be a pretty young woman of 26 now, with long blond hair and a sunny disposition.

Her grades at school were poor, and there was no tradition of books or learning in her family, so she would have probably remained uneducated, maybe working a menial job somewhere.

Maybe she would be raising her child.

If so, one hopes Martha Jean Lambert never feels the paralyzing fear that grabs parents’ heart when their child is threatened or hurt. And, one hopes that she never feels the pain and loss her disappearance gave her own mother.

Martha, a 12-year-old Ketterlinus Junior High School seventh-grader, disappeared 14 years ago from her mobile home on Kerri Lynn Road.

Her mother, Margaret, who went to St. Augustine High School, was last known to be living in Danville, Ill., her home town. She telephones the Sheriff’s Office twice a year to check on any progress in the investigation.

But her phone has been disconnected and she is not listed in the Danville directory any longer.

Her two sons also have not been heard from in a while. They lived in St. Johns County for a long time, but also are not listed in the phone book now.

Detective Michael Quintieri is a detective in the Cold Cases Unit of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, which reviews unsolved murders. He collects evidence with the help of his civilian volunteer, Warren Graybiel.

While the Lambert case is not yet ruled a murder, most officers believe that Martha is dead. Too much time has passed. Something would have turned up by now if she were alive.

‘‘She would still have memories. It could have been an abduction. She didn’t have a whole lot of friends, but she was a trusting person who did want to be liked,’’ Quintieri said.

As in most difficult cases, the evidence can be looked at more than one way.

It was a chilly day in November 1985, and St. Johns County students were out of school on their Thanksgiving break. Margaret and Martha went over to a neighbor’s house and chatted until about 7:30 p.m.

When Martha went home alone. She came into the mobile home and split a baked potato with her brother, then told him she was going out. He asked where she was going, and she said, ‘‘It’s none of your concern.’’ ‘‘She was never positively seen again,’’ Quintieri said. ‘‘She was labeled a runaway in the beginning. Her brothers had run away before. But as time went on, (the case) became more and more suspicious. Foul play is definitely suspected. For this many years, not to turn up.’’

A dozen officers came out to the house the first day and gave a cursory search of the area. Nothing was found. Neighbors reported seeing suspicious vehicles. None of those sightings could be confirmed.

The persons’ crimes unit of the Sheriff’s Office eventually investigated the case as an abduction or murder, and the National Hotline for Missing Children listed Martha from 1985 to 1987. More than 50 tips were received. Other than one similar-looking runaway found in the Midwest, no real leads developed.

Her mother was in her 30s when Martha disappeared. Her father, Howard Lambert, was 74. He is now deceased. Martha was the baby. Her parents fought frequently and the children spent some time in foster homes.

Quintieri said it was possible Martha ran away.

‘‘I do know she liked being away from home more than she liked being in the home,’’ he said. ‘‘You couldn’t say it was a nurturing environment. It’s a possible unresolved homicide or she ran away. Either way, it’s an open case.’’

The day his daughter disappeared, Howard told officers that Martha left the house to go back to meet her mother at the neighbor’s house.

She never got there.

There is no explanation available to explain the differences in the stories about Martha’s last hours.

This week, sheriff’s Deputy Vinnie Russo completed a computer-assisted, age-enhanced photograph of Martha, showing how she might look today.

Several suspects developed in the case. Martha’s father was looked at, but was too frail to carry the body of a good-sized 12-year-old girl far enough into the woods to bury.

Another neighborhood man, Clifford Morgan, was in his 60s at the time and had a reputation for liking children around his house.

‘‘He knew the family. We know (Martha) was over at his trailer on a number of occasions,’’ Quintieri said.

Unfortunately for detectives, Morgan was beaten to death in a robbery not long after Martha disappeared. His two killers, Gary Ward and Brenda Dunlop, received prison sentences of 22 years and five years, respectively. Both are now out of prison.

Lt. Chuck West was one of the initial detectives on that case.

‘‘(Morgan) was a strange man. But I don’t think he had anything to do with (Martha’s) disappearance,’’ he said.

Lt. J.D. Cannon, of the sheriff’s investigations division, said he believed it was possible Martha was abducted.

‘‘Someone could have driven up,’’ he said. ‘‘A vehicle was seen near her. But nothing came of that. This is a baffling case.’’

 

Mel70

Special specialist
I admit not to having a fresh recollection on this one other than just reading again what was here. You clearly are more up on the case.

The brother seemed to more than once want to confess, even in later years, which is why I lean that way, along with that he had seen her in the general time frame or even saw her last. Then there was the remark about his laugh and it still bothering the mother that she didn't know what the laugh was about. I certainly am not sure nor know enough to be sure.

Sad about her mother.
David did confess twice and gave LE two different disposal locations. Of course they found nothing. Raymond is an ex minister in another state who is now transgender. Raymond is extremely tight lipped about the situation. I don't get the feeling he did anything but I think the environment in that house was extremely toxic and damaged everyone by the actions of the alcoholic father's actions.
 

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