Number of alleged victims rises in case against Shawn Parcells
The state is alleging 79 additional victims were harmed by a Leawood man accused of performing medical autopsies despite lacking the necessary medical credentials.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt said a Shawnee County District Court Judge approved the request to amend the lawsuit against Shawn Parcells, dramatically expanding the number of victims from the three originally listed.
The civil lawsuit, filed in March of 2019, alleges that Parcells violated state laws by contracting with Wabaunsee County to perform required autopsies despite lacking the medical credentials required under state law.
Kansas requires coroner-ordered autopsies be conducted by qualified individuals. Parcells has no license in the healing arts and no medical degree and often referred to himself as a “professor” despite no academic background.
It also alleges that Parcells received payment from families for private autopsies, which he never completed.
Parcells also faces three felony counts of theft and three misdemeanor counts of criminal desecration in Wabunsee County related to the autopsies.
An attorney for Parcells did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
In March 2019, Shawnee County District Judge Mary E. Christopher temporarily barred Parcells from conducting autopsies and last month the Kansas Board of Healing Arts instructed him to stop any medical activities in the state.
And Parcells was banned earlier this year from sampling corpses for the coronavirus. He had previously suggested to the Capital-Journal that he might resume operations as a public service for families who lost loved ones due to the pandemic.
For a decade, Parcells worked in multiple states performing autopsies. He rose to national prominence when he aided in a 2014 autopsy of Michael Brown, the Ferguson, Mo. teenager who was shot by a city police officer, prompting national protests.
Schmidt said in the statement that they are still seeking family members or others who have a legal claim to the more than 1,600 biological samples from Parcells’ collection.
Those samples are currently in the possession of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, per a 2019 court order. Families who conducted business with Parcells are encouraged to contact the attorney general’s office.