Family of Pell City man finally has closure

PELL CITY, Ala. (WIAT) — A Pell City man will finally be laid to rest after six years of no one knowing what happened to him.  CBS42 spoke with his sister about finally having some closure.

Lorine Higginbotham’s last memory of her brother was on a trip to Texas in late 2007.  Earnest Gambrell disappeared December 12th that year. He had been living at a Fairfield boarding home on Hill Side Drive at the time.  Higginbotham calls her brother a gentle man who never met a stranger, but he’d been receiving treatment for depression before he disappeared, “because he was trying to take his life,” says Lorine.

Fast forward three years, skeletal remains were found under a floor in a building along Acadia Terrace, not far from where Gambrell had been living.

Lorine Higginbotham“Three years he laid there. Three years. The coroner said he died the night he went under that floor.” – Lorine Higginbotham, Sister

Higginbotham says she knew that it was her brother when investigators came to get the DNA sample for testing.

“And when they come up here to swab my mouth he brought a picture album, and he turned the page and I said that’s my brother’s shirt.” – Lorine Higginbotham, Sister

But it wasn’t until Thursday that the FBI crime lab confirmed the match. It’s a bittersweet call for Higginbotham, but one that brings a sense of closure.

Services for Gambrell will be next Sunday, March 16th.  The burial will be at St. Clair Memorial Cemetery at 2pm.

Copyright 2014 WIAT-CBS42

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