Kansas man accused of illegal autopsies faces fraud charges

Posted at 10:34 AM, November 19, 2020 and last updated 4:21 PM, July 21, 2023

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man accused of performing illegal autopsies has been indicted on 10 counts of federal wire fraud and the government wants to recover more than $1 million in fees paid to him by clients.

The indictment accuses Shawn Parcells, 41, of Leawood, of falsely leading people to believe they would receive an autopsy report from a pathologist, federal prosecutors for Kansas said in a news release.

An attorney who has represented Parcells in other matters, Eric Kjorlie, did not immediately return a message left Thursday morning seeking comment.

Parcells is a self-taught pathology assistant with no formal education. From 1996 to 2003, Parcells worked as a pathology assistant for the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office in Missouri.

Parcells owned National Autopsy Services in Topeka, where he provided private autopsy services. Clients using his service typically paid Parcells $3,000 plus expenses up front for a full pathological study and diagnosis of the cause of death of a family member, according to U.S. Attorney for Kansas Stephen McAllister.

From May 2016 to May 2019, Parcells received payments from at least 375 clients for a total of more than $1.1 million, but never provided a full report in most of the cases, the indictment said.

If convicted of the federal counts, Parcells could face up to 20 years in prison on each count.

Parcells already was banned from providing autopsy services in Kansas. Earlier this year, he also was ordered by a Shawnee County Court to stop offering any services related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Parcells was offering to perform swabs for COVID-19 testing and to examine people who died to see if they tested positive.

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