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Judge orders KDHE to take control of Topeka autopsy business

Published: Nov. 27, 2019 at 12:24 PM CST
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A Shawnee County judge has appointed a receiver to take control of the Topeka autopsy business of 37-year-old Shawn Parcells, of Leawood.

Parcells is currently banned by court order from conducting autopsies in Kansas while a civil lawsuit and criminal charges are pending.

Shawnee County District Judge Mary E. Christopher appointed Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Secretary Lee Norman as the receiver and directed KDHE to take control of biological samples at the Topeka space used by of Leawood.

"The biological samples are principally tissues believed to be human remains stored by Parcells. Under the order, the KDHE, with the assistance of the Office of Attorney General, will conduct a complete inventory of biological samples on the premises, safely take and store the samples, and release identified samples to appropriate family members who request them. With judicial approval, unclaimed or unidentified samples will be appropriately destroyed," said Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt in a release on Tuesday.

Parcells has been banned from doing business in Kansas since March. The temporary restraining order prohibits Parcells and his affiliated companies from conducting autopsies, forensic pathology and tissue recovery in the State of Kansas until the civil lawsuit is resolved by the attorney general. That lawsuit, filed on March 22, 2019, alleges 14 violations of the Kansas False Claims Act and violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act involving three consumers.

Parcells also faces criminal charges filed by the attorney general in Wabaunsee County District Court. Those charges include three felony counts of theft and three misdemeanor counts of criminal desecration. A preliminary hearing is set for January 16, 2020.

Any person with reason to believe a family member’s biological samples may be in the possession of Parcells or his companies and who wants to request the samples be returned should contact the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division as soon as possible at (800) 432-2310.

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