ALMA, KS (KCTV) – What was supposed to be a run of the mill hearing in Waubensee County Tuesday turned contentious as families confronted Shawn Parcells outside the courthouse about botched autopsies of their loved ones.
Parcells faces three counts each of theft and desecration, along with numerous civil charges.
The Kansas Attorney General’s office said Parcells did not have an actual medical doctor supervising the autopsies, and an investigation by KCTV5 News has revealed similar allegations about Parcells across the country.
Not much happened inside the courtroom other than the judge setting a date for Parcells to come back to court to enter his plea. Outside the courthouse, however, family members like Roger Boltz were waiting.
Boltz lost his wife melody four years ago and still carries her picture in his pocket watch. The latest round of drama over her autopsy brought much grief but few answers.
“It just brings it all back to the surface and reliving it,” he said of the experience Tuesday seeing Parcells.
Kansas state law states a doctor must supervise autopsies, something AG Derek Schmidt contends Parcells did not have. Parcells, in turn, says the mess is the fault of those who hired him.
The back and forth continues to frustrate Boltz and others, who are still left without answers.
“Surely, he had to show credentials, or they dropped the ball and didn’t ask for it. I don’t know,” he said of the case.
Kansas City, Kansas, resident Tammy Spillman was also waiting for Parcells. She said she is still waiting on an autopsy of father but is concerned the courts will not give her the justice she is seeking.
“I’m afraid he’s going to get a slap on the wrist,” Spillman told KCTV5 News. “I think he needs to be held accountable for each family victimized.”
When questioned about the status of Spillman’s father’s autopsy Tuesday, Parcells first tried claiming it was supervised by a “Doctor Duggal,” referring to Dr. Ashwani Duggal. However, Duggal has told KCTV5 News that he has never supervised Parcells nor received any cases from him.
When confronted by KCTV5 News with that detail, Parcells’ attorney tried to further dissect the question.
“What is ‘is?’ What is the definition of ‘is?’ What is ‘supervision?’” attorney Eric Kjorlie told KCTV5 News, explaining part of their strategy to debate the definition of supervision in this case.
Parcells’ argument is that supervision can mean long-distance relationship with doctors, something that the state counters is just wrong.
For now, Parcells cannot legally finish any autopsy reports, though he is hoping to secure a court order that will change that.