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Cold Case of Martha Jean Lambert Solved: Or Is It?

On a November day in 1985, a young girl went missing from her Florida home. Too often, children go missing--feared to be abducted. In the United States, a child goes missing or is abducted roughly every forty seconds. Violence against children should never happen, but too often it does. On November 24, 1985, Margaret Pichon experienced her worst fears come true when her daughter Martha Jean Lambert did not return home and was feared abducted. At the time, Martha Jean was just twelve years old. Although the case was investigated, the fate of Martha Jean Lambert was never discovered--that is, until now.

Burnt Turkey

Like many couples, the parents of Martha Jean and her older brother David often fought. They fought on the day Martha Jean would disappear after her mother burnt the Thanksgiving turkey.

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Money's Tight

Like many families, Martha Jean's struggled with bills. So, a burnt turkey wasn't necessarily an easy fix. With little money to spare, Thanksgiving was likely ruined.

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ebaumsworld

The Kids Take a Hike

When their parents would fight, Martha Jean and her brother would often venture out of the house and hang out at a nearby abandoned college.

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ytimg

Hanging Out

Florida Memorial College was a vacant ruin that many kids would visit to hang out and get away from it all.

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dailymail

The Mystery Begins

After arriving at the abandoned college, David Lambert told authorities that he and his sister split up. He explored the college grounds and assumed that she did the same.

onlyinyourstate
onlyinyourstate

Time to Go Home

As the day progressed, David went looking for his sister so they could head home. As he crossed and recrossed his steps, he simply couldn't find her.

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pinimg

Martha Jean Could Not Be Found

David had scoured the whole campus but there was no sign of his sister.

onlyinyourstate
onlyinyourstate

Searching the Neighborhood

David returned home and told his parents that he could not find Martha Jean. The ruined turkey was forgotten as the family took to the streets to search for Martha Jean.

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city-data

Calling in the Police

Martha Jean's parents knew something was wrong. They called the police. They knew Martha Jean would not stay out late and should have returned home.

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sinclairstoryline

Suspected Kidnapping

As police questioned the family's neighbors and the community, they could not find any information about the girl's disappearance. Martha Jean's mother was convinced that she was kidnapped.

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sltrib

Police Left Puzzled with No Answers

Although police were inclined to think, too, that Martha Jean could have been abducted, they could find no trace of her or her abductor. No one had appeared to see or hear a thing that could provide them with any leads.

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ytimg

No Trace of Martha Jean

Eventually, police realized they had a cold case on their hands. They hand no leads to help them find the missing girl.

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horrornews

Divorce

Tension and despair may have been too much for the parents of Martha Jean. In the 25 years since their daughter went missing, the couple divorced.

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huffpost

A Son Moves On

According to the family, David was never the same after the disappearance of Martha Jean. He went his own way after his parents split up.

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A Surprising Tale

25 years after the death of his sister, David Lambert entered the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. He said he had news for them.

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A Secret

David, now 38 years old, told the sheriff he had a secret and he wanted to get it out.

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lifedaily

Confession

David told police that his sister was dead.

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staugustine

Afraid

David told police it was all an accident. He had been too scared to tell them the truth of what happened at the abandoned campus.

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lifedaily

David Talks

David told the police that he and his sister left their home as previously stated after the burnt turkey episode. They went to a nearby store to buy some candy.

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pinimg

David's Story Continues

David told police that they took their candy to the abandoned college campus just as he told them. They needed some fresh air and thought they'd do some exploring to get their minds off things.

onlyinyourstate
onlyinyourstate

A Photo and Tears

Police pulled out a file of the case, revealing Martha Jean's picture. David began to cry.

lifedaily
lifedaily

An Argument

As he cried, David spilled out the story of an argument with his little sister.

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meromtzion

Argument over Twenty Bucks

According to David, he had given Martha Jean $20. But she wanted more. That was the genesis of their argument.

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dreamstime

He Said No

Having already given money to his sister, David told Martha Jean no. He could not lend her any more cash.

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pixabay

A Swing

David said his sister became upset when he gave her no money. She punched him in the nose.

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amazonnews

A Shove

David, like Martha Jean, had been upset with all that had happened that day. After receiving the blow, David shoved his sister. The push would change their fate forever.

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A Fateful Fall

After David pushed her, Martha Jean fell backwards, striking her head on the ground.

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pinimg

A Terrible Accident

David told police that Martha Jean's head hadn't just hit the ground. It struck a chunk of metal protruding from the ground.

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vosizneias

Nothing He Could Do

Although David said he yelled for help, he saw blood pouring from his sister's head. He could not save her, but he was scared to report the truth. He buried her in a shallow grave.

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floridamemory

A Mother's Disbelief

Police believed David's confession, decided not to charge him and closed the case. Martha Jean's Mother, who said David makes up stories, still believes her daughter was abducted. Her remains have never been found.

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abcnews
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Peg, Heywise Staff

Article WriterPeg, Heywise Staff

<p>Don’t let her focus on food-related quizzes fool you, Peg is a pro in many arenas. Even though she spends most of her free time whipping up delicious cookies and concocting new recipes for easy but impressive gluten-free cakes, Peg’s brain holds a vast collection of knowledge about everything from baby animals to what you need to know to graduate from different school grades. While she’s the first to admit everything she reads doesn’t necessarily stick in her head, Peg keeps her mind fresh by reading the Financial Post and Globe and Mail on the regular, and coming up with fantastic ideas for new quizzes. She’s a secret fan of gossip, too, so watch out for her intense celeb topics!</p>

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