Authorities obtained blood and DNA evidence linking the ex-husband of a slain West Palm Beach middle school nurse to her murder, but he died before they could serve an arrest warrant on him, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said Sunday.
Albert Lambert “overdosed on some narcotics” on Sunday morning, Bradshaw said at a news conference. He was the only suspect in what Bradshaw called “one of the most heinous cases I’ve seen in a long time.”
According to Bradshaw, officers conducting surveillance on Lambert saw his sister and her boyfriend carrying his body wrapped in a sheet out of a house in Miami around 10 a.m. Sunday and called paramedics. They were unable to revive Lambert and he was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Investigators had announced late Friday that a body found in a sugar cane field in Hendry County, Florida was that of Kimberly Lindsey, Lambert’s ex-wife who had been reported missing last Monday.
“It became readily obvious to us very early on in the investigation, even before it became a homicide investigation, that things were not going to turn out well at the end of the day here,” Bradshaw said Sunday.
A probable cause affidavit in support of a warrant for Lambert’s arrest that detectives prepared before his death revealed new details about the case.
According to the document, an officer conducting a welfare check at Lindsey’s Palm Beach Gardens home after she failed to show up for work last Monday found her front door unlocked and apparent blood stains in her bedroom, on a banister and in her garage.
Stains believed to be blood were also found on the rear bumper and trunk of a Toyota Camry that was parked outside. The vehicle was registered to Lambert but usually driven by one of the couple’s three daughters.
The daughters later told investigators that Lambert had spare keys to the Camry and to Lindsey’s residence, and that he knew the alarm code for Lindsey’s house.
Kimberly Lindsey and Albert Lambert had gone through a long and contentious divorce and court documents show they continued to argue over child support and other issues after the divorce was finalized in 2012. According to the affidavit, Lambert said at a court hearing prior to Lindsey’s murder that he would either “disappear or go to jail” before he paid any of the funds he owed.
When contacted for questioning by a detective the day after his ex-wife was reported missing, Lambert said he would rather speak to an attorney first, the affidavit stated.
Lambert’s attorney, Jo Ann Barone, told HLN Monday that he was “doing everything he could” to cooperate with investigators and with attorneys representing his daughters prior to his death.
Barone said Lambert did not know where Lindsey was and was “very distressed” last week.
“It’s been tough on the whole family,” she said.
“I think we’ll never know the real story or the truth because they stopped the investigation with Dr. Lambert’s death,” Barone said.
According to the affidavit, when Lindsey’s body was found last Wednesday, her head and fingertips had been removed and .22 caliber bullet was recovered from her chest. Investigators determined that Lambert purchased a .22 caliber pistol at a West Palm Beach gun store in mid-October.
Forensic testing established that blood on the rear bumper and trunk latch of the Camry was Lindsey’s. DNA from Albert Lambert was also consistent with a blood stain on the bumper.
Officers executing a search warrant at Lambert’s Jupiter home on Saturday collected several articles of clothing and a blue towel with a blood-like substance on it, according to the affidavit.
Blood on the towel was matched with Lambert. Stains on underwear found in his bathroom contained both Lambert and Lindsey’s blood.
Sheriff Bradshaw said the murder was likely committed in Lindsey’s home, based on the amount of blood found there.
“There is no doubt that he was the suspect that committed this crime,” Bradshaw said of Lambert, who was an emergency room physician.
Bradshaw said investigators believe Lambert acted alone and that he disposed of the body himself.
“Think about it,” Bradshaw said. “He’s a doctor, you know. Who’s got better skills to do that?”
In a statement released through Barone Monday, Dr. Lambert's family asked for privacy and thanked their supporters:
"The family of Dr. Albert Lambert wishes to express to everyone that our hearts, sympathies, and prayers are with his daughters Sarah, Sophia and Savannah, as well as with Kimberly’s family and all those in our community affected by this tragedy. We are grieving not only the loss of our son and brother, but also Kimberly who has been a beloved member of our family for over 20 years. During this difficult time of profound sadness and grief, our family kindly requests privacy. We are grateful for all the supportive messages received from friends and loved ones. We pray to God to give both families and all those affected the necessary strength to get through this most difficult time."
State Attorney Dave Aronburg noted at Sunday’s press conference that the crime had occurred at the end of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“The most dangerous time in a relationship is the end of a relationship,” Aronburg said. “That’s when you have the end of dominance and the end of control, and that’s when tragedies like this are more likely to happen.”