Trial Over Body Stolen From San Antonio Funeral Home Begins

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The body of Julie Mott, 25, was stolen from a San Antonio funeral home on August 15, 2015. - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • The body of Julie Mott, 25, was stolen from a San Antonio funeral home on August 15, 2015.

In 2015, Julie Mott’s parents contracted a local funeral home, Mission Park Funeral Chapels & Cemeteries, to help lay their 25-year-old daughter to rest after she died of complications from cystic fibrosis.

But on August 15, 2015, shortly after her memorial service, Julie’s body disappeared from the funeral home. It hasn’t been recovered since. This week, a civil lawsuit between the Mott family and Mission Park Funeral Chapels & Cemeteries is being heard in court.

Timothy and Sharlotte Mott, Julie’s parents, are seeking more than $1 million in damages from the owners of the funeral home, Kristin and Robert “Dick” Tips, citing “negligent conduct” and “gross negligence,” KSAT reported.

Shortly after the memorial service in 2015, Julie’s casket was allegedly moved to a hallway, and then to a visitation area, before it was to be transferred to a crematorium. The funeral home closed for the day around 4:30 p.m., and that was the last time anyone saw Julie’s casket undisturbed. The following day, employees arrived to discover the casket was empty, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

During opening testimony for the suit on Tuesday, the Motts accused the Tips of failing to secure their funeral homes, alleging outside contractors had unrestricted access to the building. According to the Motts, the lack of security might explain how their daughter’s body went missing.

The Tips, however, have another suspect in mind. In court, the Tips’ attorney alleged that Julie’s ex-boyfriend, Bill Wilburn, may have been responsible for her body's disappearance.

According to the Tips, the Motts failed to disclose Wilburn’s physically and mentally abusive past, and that he objected to Julie’s cremation. The day of the memorial service, Julie’s father noticed Wilburn hanging around, and he asked that someone supervise Wilburn. Wilburn was considered a person of interest in the case, and was previously arrested for trespassing in the funeral home, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

The lawsuit will continue to play out in civil court over the next couple of weeks.