A Kansas man has been found guilty on six criminal charges related to providing autopsy services in Wabaunsee County.
According to theKansas Attorney General’s Office, 42-year-old Shawn Parcells who has resided in Leawood and Topeka, was convicted after a three-day trial in Wabaunsee County District Court on three counts of felony theft and three misdemeanor counts of criminal desecration.
The jury found that Parcells unlawfully obtained money from Wabaunsee County to perform autopsies in three cases. In addition, Parcells had unauthorized control of the bodies and performed autopsies in three instances without a pathologist performing the autopsies, a violation of state law. The crimes took place in 2014 and 2015.
Parcells also faces a civil complaint filed by the attorney general in Shawnee County District Court for 14 alleged violations of the Kansas False Claims Act and violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act involving 82 consumers. The civil petition alleges Parcells contracted with Wabaunsee County to conduct coroner-ordered autopsies and failed to complete them in accordance with Kansas law. Additionally, the petition alleges he performed autopsies without the presence or supervision of a licensed pathologist or otherwise in violation of consumer protection laws.
In the course of the civil investigation and litigation, the state obtained control of more than 1,600 biological samples collected by Parcells. In November 2019, Judge Mary Christopher appointed Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Lee Norman as receiver and directed KDHE to take control of the samples. Under court order, the state cataloged and stored the samples. Schmidt said that upon proper and verified request the samples are being released to family members who request them from the state. Any remaining samples will be processed in accordance with state law.
Parcells has been banned by court order from performing autopsies pending the completion of the civil litigation. The civil case remains pending.