Following illegal autopsies, Topeka man convicted of six criminal counts

13 News Eye on Northeast Kansas
Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 5:51 PM CDT
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ALMA, Kan. (WIBW) - A Topeka man has been found guilty of six criminal counts related to autopsy services and faces litigation for over 1,600 biological samples he unlawfully collected.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says one man has been found guilty of six criminal charges for providing “autopsy” services in Wabaunsee Co.

AG Schmidt said Shawn Parcells, 42, who lived in Leawood and Topeka, was convicted following a three-day trial in Wabaunsee Co. District Court on three counts of felony theft and three misdemeanor counts of criminal desecration.

District Court Chief Judge Jeffrey Elder accepted the verdict and set sentencing for Jan. 10, 2022.

The jury found Parcells unlawfully solicited money from Wabanusee Co. to perform autopsies in three cases. Additionally, he had unauthorized control of the bodies and performed autopsies in three instances without a pathologist, violating state law.

The crimes are reported to have happened in 2014 and 2015.

Schmidt said he has also filed a civil complaint against Parcells in Shawnee Co. District Court for 14 alleged violations of the Kansas False Claims Act and violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act, which involved 82 residents. He said the civil petition alleges Parcells contacted Wabaunsee Co. to conduct coroner-ordered autopsies and failed to complete them in accordance with Kansas law.

Additionally, Schmidt said the petition alleges Parcells performed autopsies without the presence or supervision of a licensed pathologist in violation of consumer protection laws.

In the course of the civil investigation, Schmidt said the State gathered control of over 1,600 biological samples collected by Parcells.

In November 2019, Schmidt said Judge Mary Christopher appointed Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman as the receiver and directed the KDHE to take control of the samples.

Under the order, Schmidt said the state cataloged and stored the samples. He said upon proper and verified requests the samples were released to family members who request them from the state. Any remaining samples will be processed in accordance with state law.

Schmidt said Parcells has been banned in by a court order from performing autopsies pending completion of the civil litigation. He said the civil case remains pending.

The criminal case was prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Steven Karrer of the Fraud and Abuse Litigation Divison of Schmidt’s office and Wabaunsee Co. Attorney Time Liesmann.

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