Well, this is messed up

So I saw this case posted on NamUs and Googled her to start the process of putting her on Charley too. And I found this article. I don’t think the poor woman, Julie Mott, qualifies for the Charley Project, but her case is certainly puzzling and disturbing.

Julie died of natural causes on August 8, 2015. She was only twenty-five. On August 15, her loved ones held a memorial service for her. Sometime after the service, before the body could be interred, it disappeared. It has never been found.

I think I speak for everyone when I say: WHO DOES THAT?!!!

They have a person of interest, per the article:

A year later, surveillance video was given to San Antonio Police by Mission Park Funeral Home of Mott’s former boyfriend, Bill Willburn, twice attempting to enter the funeral despite previously being served a criminal trespass warrant.

Wilburn was arrested and charged with two counts of criminal trespassing.

He has consistently denied stealing Mott’s remains and was never charged with the crime.

Well, the thought of Willburn being involved is …icky, to say the least. I don’t know whether he did it or not, of course. And I don’t know which is worse, the idea that Julie’s body was stolen by a man who loved her (it’s happened before) or that it was stolen by a stranger for god knows what nefarious purpose.

Julie’s family sued the funeral home and was awarded $8 million. They’ve advertised a reward for the return of her remains, but they have never been found and I doubt they ever will be.

28 thoughts on “Well, this is messed up

  1. Mary Carney March 10, 2020 / 11:18 am


    I remember this case and am still weirded out by it.

    • Meaghan March 10, 2020 / 1:10 pm

      I can’t imagine how awful it must have been for her family. When my grandma died someone stole her diamond ring off her finger. We never did find out who. We felt outraged and violated. And that was just a ring.

  2. Christie Groves March 10, 2020 / 12:01 pm

    I know this case really well! John Lordan covered it years ago when it happened. The poor girl dies of long term illness and then some psycho stalker stole her human remains it’s utterly nuts.

  3. marsyao March 10, 2020 / 2:24 pm

    I wonder how could a funeral home could afford a $8 million penalty, and why exactly they did wrong? How could they know some one would steal a corpse ? I don’t think many funeral homes are heavily guarded. About that former boyfriend, I would guess their relationship was not approved by her family, otherwise why her family would not allow him to pay the final respect to her?

    • Meaghan March 10, 2020 / 2:25 pm

      In all probability the funeral home COULDN’T afford the lawsuit, hence why they are now a former funeral home.

      • marsyao March 10, 2020 / 2:31 pm

        I understand her family were very upset and right to be so, but don’t you think they overreact? I don’t think the punishment that funeral home got is fair

      • Meaghan March 10, 2020 / 2:33 pm

        I don’t know what came up at the trial, only that the body vanished and the funeral home was held responsible. My guess is there was evidence of dire negligence but idk.

    • Mia March 10, 2020 / 10:55 pm

      A lot of funeral homes have been bought out by corporations (a big plot line on Six Feet Under, if you e watched that). Of the three in my town, two are now owned by a larger conglomerate. That may be where the money came from.

  4. Patrick Kerrigan March 10, 2020 / 4:32 pm

    If the funeral home had a video surveillance system, and it shows the ex-boyfriend trying to get into the wake. So, I wonder if they searched his property.

    The article does not mention any sign of forced entry at the funeral home. I would like to know if there were any other cases where remains were stolen from other funeral homes.

    I can see the funeral home being held liable, but not for $8 million dollars. It’s not like remains have been stolen from this particular funeral home, and they refused to take precautions.

  5. fluttergirl March 10, 2020 / 7:35 pm

    This case is near my neck of the woods. The funeral home hadn’t changed their security codes or rekeyed their locks in YEARS. Ex-employees and contractors could have made copies of the keys and remembered the security codes. The funeral home dropped the ball, bigtime. Mission Burial Park has two massive cemeteries in San Antonio. They were completely negligent and, personally, I believe the parents’ lawsuit has merit. The owner, Dick Tips, called his lawyer before he called the police. If one of my kids died and the funeral home lost their body I would rain hellfire down on everyone responsible, and I’m not even religious.

    • Meaghan March 10, 2020 / 7:36 pm

      Okay, that explains why the jury slammed them so hard.

      The name “Dick Tips” is hilarious.

      • fluttergirl March 10, 2020 / 7:42 pm

        His actual name is Robert Dixon Tips. He prefers to go by the nickname “Dick.” Which is also weird. But then again we have a doctor here in Austin who specializes in vasectomies who is name Richard Chopp. He goes by Dick Chopp. You can google him. He has t-shirts.

    • fluttergirl March 10, 2020 / 7:39 pm

      And, for the record, I think the ex is responsible. Julie’s parents were going to have her cremated, and her ex didn’t want that to happen. Creepy as hell. He served two days in jail. I’m still hopefull the authorities will find her body.

    • Christie Groves (TheDoePatrol) March 11, 2020 / 11:10 am

      If the Vet lost my dog or cats after they died I would rain hellfire as well, geez even my Turtle I’d be po-ed! What a loss what a terrible thing when you think about it. I did hear this was not the first time this happened there.

    • marsyao March 11, 2020 / 4:12 pm

      As I said in a previous post, I don’t think it is that uncommon that small business owner not change their security codes or rekeyed their locks for years, and besides, considering the business they was in, the owner would be more concern somebody would steal the coffins, how often you heard a corpse got stolen ?

  6. Vincent March 10, 2020 / 8:12 pm

    I seem to recall a story in the Bible about someone’s mortal remains vanishing from the crypt where they had been placed. So there is a precedent for this sort of thing. Oh ye of little faith! God took her into his warm embrace. She lives eternally in a young, healthy body. And what a bonus: Her family got 8 million dollars! God took care of everyone who loved her.

  7. Patrick Kerrigan March 10, 2020 / 9:17 pm

    Further articles mention that the funeral home, had a deal with another facility that handles the cremations and other stuff. Their staff had the access codes for the alarm system on the funeral home. What gets me is how the ex-boyfriend (if the guilty party), got her remains out of the funeral home. It could be that one of his buddies could have helped him, but again how would they have gotten the access codes to turn off the alarm. The other facility would have taken the coffin, with them, if they screwed up and taken them too early.

    The other question is if the alarm system, kept a time record if when the system was activated or deactivated. I came across a reference to a news paper article dating from 1964, where someones remains were removed from a funeral home here in the Chicago area in 1964. Will have to check the Chicago Tribune archives at my local library.

    • Meaghan March 11, 2020 / 9:44 am

      It used to be a thing in Italy where sometimes right after a wealthy person died, their body would be stolen and held for ransom. Seriously. Basically “if you want Grandma back in time for the funeral, you have to pay 500,000 lire.”

    • Meaghan March 11, 2020 / 9:46 am

      Per another commenter, the funeral home hadn’t changed their locks or alarm access codes in many years and there were loads of former employees who could have gained entry, and this is why the jury found them to be negligent.

      • marsyao March 11, 2020 / 4:07 pm

        I think many small business do not change their lock or alarm access codes for years, what a chance someone would break into a funeral home to steal a corpse? Especially I don’t think she was from some a very rich family, and even the funeral home changed the lock and alarm codes, would that prevent from someone breaking in ? should now the funeral owners should hire armed guards at the night ? so I still think the whole legal thing simply went to far

      • doc March 11, 2020 / 5:44 pm

        Marsyao – It would’ve forced determined crooks to actually break in, yes, which would show the home was trying to take proper care – compared to leaving a situation that someone could just enter into (unlawfully, obviously).

        Also, unlike other businesses, the home is handling someone else’s precious stuff (not sure how to say it, but I’m sure you understand) which makes it all the worse to treat security as they did. They did just a “little” better than actually leaving the door open, but not much.

  8. Patrick Kerrigan March 11, 2020 / 4:57 pm

    I agree. But, the legal system and some juries get carried away, since most likely the insurance company will be paying the bills. The issues with changing the locks and alarm passwords, routinely would be recommended. However, it’s not like thieves were stealing bodies from funeral homes on a regular basis, with no sounds of forced entry.

    I read your article about the guy stealing the remains in Florida. It was very interesting read to say the least. I like that he was still married while hanging with his deceased love.

    • Meaghan March 11, 2020 / 5:00 pm

      His deceased love had technically been married as well at the time of her death, though her husband had left her.

      On a side note, in an age of antibiotics it’s easy to forget how deadly tuberculosis used to be. It decimated Elena’s entire family; her and both siblings all died young cause of it. Like the literary Brontë family.

      • Christie Groves March 12, 2020 / 6:31 pm

        She had Cystic Fibrosis not TB FYI I don’t know how that got confused or switched.

      • Meaghan March 12, 2020 / 6:32 pm

        I’m not talking about Julie Mott here, I’m talking about Elena Hoyos, the dead girl whose body Carl Tanzler stole.

    • marsyao March 11, 2020 / 5:21 pm

      I don’t think the funeral home’s insurance would cover $8 millions, I even doubt their insurance could cover 1 or 2 percent of $8 millions unless this is a very large and super successful funeral home, the result most likely was the funeral went under, and the family, if lucky, receive a tiny portion of that $8 millions

  9. doc March 11, 2020 / 5:25 pm

    Yes, but at least her sister was around to catch onto what’d been happening.


  10. Patrick Kerrigan March 12, 2020 / 4:16 pm

    I did a little research on theft of remains in the archives of several major newspapers. Well, I came across a few interesting cases of this. One was the son of a former president, whose remains were dug up for a medical college in Ohio.

    Also, Charlie Chaplin’s remains were dug up from a cemetery in Switzerland, sometime in 1978. It was discovered several months after he had been buried. I did not know, if they were ever recovered.

    Also, Michael Todd, the showman, and former husband of Elizabeth Taylor, remains were dug up from Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois, in 1977. He was killed in a bad plane crash in 1958. It is believed that there were rumors he was buried with a expensive ring. However, the remains were found in the cemetery. All of his remains had been placed in a rubber bag and buried.

    Also, a 14-year old girl remains were taken from a funeral home in Skokie, Illinois, sometime in 1964. She died of a medical condition. I did not find that they recovered her remains. Her former boyfriend was a possible suspect, but he was another friend and two girls at the beach the evening that her remains were taken. Her uncle was a priest and he conducted the funeral mass, however, her burial was delayed.

    The remains of woman saint and a pope were also stolen in Italy, many years ago. So, it appears something that was a little more common then we would think.

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