Kansas man banned from business, ordered to pay restitution for illegal autopsies

·2 min read
JILL TOYOSHIBA / The Kansas City Star

A Kansas man who illegally provided private autopsy services has been banned from the business and ordered to pay over $250,000 in restitution, according to the Kansas Attorney General’s Office.

Shawn Parcells, 42, of Leawood, was ordered by a Shawnee County district court judge to pay restitution to 82 people that used his services. Each of his three companies that provided autopsy services were permanently banned and required to pay over $400,000 in penalties for violating Kansas law and business standards, according to Kansas State Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

His companies each—Parcells Forensic Pathology Group, ParCo-Parcells and Company and National Autopsy and Tissue Recovery Services— will pay a $200,000 penalty for violating the Kansas Consumer Protections act and Kansas False claims act. They were also ordered to pay Wabaunsee County $49,600 in damages and $60,000 in investigative and receivership fees. The judge banned these companies from doing any business related to the human body.

“It is important to remember that behind all these case details are individuals and family members who have been put in unimaginable circumstances due to Parcells’ conduct,” Schmidt said in a statement.

“Navigating the loss of a loved one can be difficult enough, but the additional harm created by Shawn Parcells has added to that difficulty.”

A self-taught pathologist with no formal education, Parcells was found to have unlawfully received money from Wabaunsee County to perform coroner-ordered autopsies in three cases between 2014 and 2015. He also was found to have performed autopsies on three occasions without a licensed pathologist present, which is illegal.

From 2016 to 2019, Parcells allegedly received fees from 375 clients to perform autopsies. The charges totaled more than $1.1 million and despite his claims stating otherwise, no licensed pathologist was present, according to prosecutors.

In 2019, Schmidt filed a case against Parcells, alleging that he failed to conduct autopsies with any supervision and in accordance with Kansas law.

An investigation into Parcells’ businesses uncovered that he had collected 1,700 biological samples from his autopsy services. By November, the samples were seized by the secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and released to victim’s families upon their request.

That year, a Shawnee County district judge temporarily banned Parcells and his companies from conducting autopsies, forensic pathology and tissue recovery until the civil lawsuit alleging violations of Kansas’ consumer protection and false claims acts was resolved.

Parcells was convicted in November 2021 in Wabaunsee County on three counts of felony theft and three misdemeanor counts of criminal desecration. He is awaiting sentencing.

On May 26, Parcells pleaded guilty to one count of fraud in federal court in Topeka.

The Star’s Aaron Torres and Bill Lukitsch contributed to this report.