The latest twist in the missing person investigation of Martha Jean Lambert came today after a report that the victim’s brother, David Lambert, now says he did not tell the truth to detectives when he admitted causing his sister’s accidental death over 24 years ago.
In an interview with Jessica Clark on Tuesday, the First Coast News reporter says the story David Lambert told investigators was a lie. According to Clark, Lambert said, “The truth needs to be known. The lies need to stop.”
In the Clark interview, Lambert said “Basically I told [detectives] what they wanted to hear. They didn’t want to hear the truth. All these detectives, they just want to [say] okay, she’s dead. They just want to close the case.”
Martha’s brother, David, had recently turned 15 at the time of Martha’s disappearance. An interview of Lambert was conducted in August at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. In that interview, David Lambert stated that he was responsible for his sister’s disappearance and that the information needed to bring Martha home, rested with him.
Lambert guided investigators to an area where the Florida Memorial University once operated on CR 214 near Holmes Boulevard; which is the location where he says he dug a 3 foot grave and buried his sister. Despite extensive digging, excavating and K-9 searches, Martha’s remains were never located.
After a final interview with David Lambert, he told investigators that he and his sister had gone to the abandoned college to play. During that time, Lambert says they became involved in an argument with each other over twenty dollars.
Lambert further stated that Martha slapped him. He said that he pushed her away and caused her to accidentally fall on a piece of steel; impaling her at the base of her skull.
Lambert says that he panicked and buried Martha at the location that had been searched.
So the question is, was David Lambert lying then or is he lying now?
Historic City News met with Sergeant Chuck Mulligan Wednesday morning to review the evidence and Lambert’s tape recorded interview with sheriff’s detectives.
David Lambert was clearly emotional in the interview when he confronted his 57 year-old mother, Margaret Lambert, with details about his role in the death of his 12 year-old sister, Martha.
“He seemed to be telling detectives the truth in his confession”, Mulligan said. “The detectives hold that based on the rapport they developed with Lambert, since re-opening the case on June 24th of last year, and his subsequent statements, behavior and reactions to their questions; Lambert truthfully recollected the event of Martha Lambert’s death on November 28, 1985.”
So, we asked Mulligan if the Sheriff’s Office would bring charges against Lambert for “filing a false police report” — given his contradictory statements and denials to Jessica Clark on Tuesday.
Mulligan explained that the truth of Lambert’s confession to Detective Tice and Detective Cole is not in question and that whatever Lambert chooses to tell the media, or anyone else, at this point is moot. Under Florida Law in 1985, it is too late today to prosecute Lambert for manslaughter.
Although Lambert will not be held to account for his admission or denial of the events of that day in 1985, one of his versions of the events is clearly false — and this is not the first time 38 year-old David Lambert has run afoul of the law over false statements.
A check of local arrest records reveals that Lambert was taken into custody in July 1998 on charges of “unlawful burning of land”, in September 1999 for violation of probation from the “unlawful burning” conviction, a year later in September 2000 for violation of probation from the “unlawful burning” conviction as well as a warrant from Putnam County for failure to appear on charges of “scheming to defraud”. In July 2001, Lambert was arrested on a warrant from Bradford County for failure to appear to answer charges of “obstruction by false information”, in September 2001, arrested for “uttering a false or forged instrument” as well as a warrant from Putnam County for violation of probation from the “scheming to defraud” conviction. Lambert was last arrested locally on charges of “organized fraud” on January 29, 2002.
Mulligan told us that if any new evidence were to come to light or new witnesses were to become known to law enforcement, the Martha Lambert investigation would be re-opened. However, given the many dynamics of this investigation and the totality of the information it has developed, the governing law and experience of the officers who have compiled it, the case is closed.
“All we want to know is the truth about what happened to Martha Lambert”, Mulligan said. “At this time, we think we know that.”