HITCHCOCK, Texas -- Losing a family member is never easy. When Mike Lamb got word his mother had died, he was on the next flight back home to Galveston.
“I was upset,” Lamb said. “I missed her last birthday and her last days.”
Saturday, the family gathered to remember Marguerite Jules Lamb. Five minutes before Marguerite’s procession pulled into Mainland Memorial Cemetery, Lamb received a phone call. The funeral director told him there’s another body in his mother’s grave, and they don’t know who it is.
“We knew we couldn’t bury momma because there was another person in her spot,” Lamb said.
The cemetery’s owner, Russell LaRoe, says he can’t identify the body in Marguerite’s grave because he doesn’t have records of burial. Over the phone, LaRoe says he’s only owned the cemetery for six years.
According to information provided by Texas Cemeteries Association, Sec. 711.003 of Texas Health and Safety Code requires cemeteries to keep records of interment including the identity of the plot in which the remains are interred.
In 1980, the Lamb family purchased four plots for their family to rest together.
“My grandmother is on the backside of my daddy, and my uncles on the backside of where my momma's supposed to be resting,” Lamb said.
On December 27, 1994, Marguerite’s husband, Fredrick, died. The day his funeral service was held, it was raining, keeping Mainland Memorial Cemetery staff from burying his body that day. No family attended the official burial days later. Fredrick was the third of four family members to be buried on the plot.
Lamb took pictures of the cemetery’s owner, Russell LaRoe, removing the unknown body. The Lambs are uneasy about the possibility of the mystery body being their father, who they never saw laid to rest.
“That would devastate the whole family if that’s my father he just took out of the box over there,” Lamb said. “That would hurt us all.”
Lamb fears there are more mistakes in the cemetery. He believes there could be families visiting headstones, not the person they believe to be buried beneath.