Leawood Man Ran Phony Autopsy Service in Topeka Caught After Performing 375 Illegal Autopsies

TOPEKA, KAN. – A Kansas man who ran an autopsies-for-hire business was indicted today on federal fraud charges, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.  In addition to criminal penalties, the indictment seeks to recover more than $1 million in fees paid by the defendant’s clients. Victims are encouraged to email NASVictims@fbi.gov or call 316-660-6439.

Shawn Lynn Parcells, 41, Leawood, Kan., is charged with 10 counts of wire fraud.

The indictment alleges Parcells falsely led clients to believe they would receive an autopsy report prepared by a pathologist. In fact, in most of the cases, no pathologist was involved in the work on the autopsies. Parcells was not a physician and not a pathologist. He worked from 1996 to 2003 as a pathologist’s assistant with the Jackson County, Mo., Medical Examiner’s Office.

Parcells offered private autopsy services through his business, National Autopsy Services, based in Topeka. Clients generally paid a basic fee of $3,000 plus expenses up front for a full pathological study and diagnosis as the cause of a death of a family member.

The indictment alleges that from May 11, 2016, to May 5, 2019, Parcells obtained fees from at least 375 clients for a total amount of more than $1.1 million, but failed to provide a completed report in the majority of cases.

If convicted, Parcells could face a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. The FBI and the Kansas Attorney General’s office investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney is prosecuting.