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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Shawn Parcells: Forensic Imposter

     The history of forensic science is also the history of pseudoscience, phony experts, and bogus courtroom testimony. Fakes and charlatans have flourished in the fields of handwriting identification, DNA analysis, forensic toxicology, firearms identification, latent fingerprint analysis, blood spatter interpretation, and forensic pathology.

     These forensic pretenders work in our crime labs, police departments, coroners' and medical examiners' offices. They also practice as private consultants and independent contractors. Within the private sector, these experts from hell often charge less than their qualified counterparts and tailor their findings to meet the needs of the people paying their fees.

     Most forensic impersonators work in the shadows until they become involved in a celebrated case. Once in the public limelight, they are often exposed for who they are. That doesn't mean, however, that they slink, disgraced, into forensic oblivion. When the smoke clears, most of them return, with revised phony credentials, and continue to screw up the criminal justice system with their bogus work. They get away with this because in the U.S. there is very little oversight in forensic science.

Shawn Parcells

     Shawn Parcells, after graduating in 2003 with a degree in life science from Kansas State University, was accepted into a medical school in the Caribbean. He did not attend the school because he and his wife were expecting a baby. So, instead of becoming a physician and acquiring extra training in forensic pathology, Parcells started a company in Overland Park, Kansas called Regional Forensic Services.

     Mr. Parcells, calling himself a forensic pathologist's assistant, offered his services to police departments, coroners' offices and medical examiners' officers. He was not certified as a forensic pathology assistant because no such field is recognized within the forensic science profession.

     In Kansas and Missouri, Parcells testified in homicide trials as an expert witness on issues dealing with forensic cause of death. Even more disturbing, he performed autopsies without the presence or supervision of a real forensic pathologist.

     On his Linkedln page, Parcells claimed to be an adjunct professor at Washburn State University in Topeka, Kansas. He also claimed to have earned a master's degree from New York Chiropractic College. (Like that would qualify him to perform autopsies.)

     A deputy sheriff in Missouri claimed that Parcells held himself out to be a doctor. If true, this could comprise a criminal offense. Otherwise, the laws in Missouri and Kansas are not clear on whether it's legal for a person without a medical degree to perform an autopsy.

     In August 2014, in the wake of the Michael Brown police-involved shooting case in Ferguson, Missouri, Shawn Parcells came out of the shadows when he assisted Dr. Michael Baden perform an autopsy on Mr. Brown at the request of his family. (Dr. Baden is a world renowned forensic pathologist and Fox News contributor.)

     Following the Brown autopsy, Parcells made himself a TV authority on the 18-year-old's death by appearing on CNN, Fox News, and several other television networks. In watching those interviews, very few people would be under the impression that Dr. Baden's assistant was not a forensic pathologist. He came off as being quite authoritative on the subject of Michael Brown's shooting death.

     Parcells' media exposure ultimately led to an investigation by CNN regarding his credentials as a cause of death expert. On November 24, 2014, Parcells sat for a television interview conducted by a CNN correspondent. He admitted having performed autopsies on his own, and when asked how he had acquired his expertise, he said, "by watching pathologists and assisting them at various morgues." Some times he was paid, other times not, he said.

     Parcells, when asked about his master's degree from the chiropractic school, said he couldn't produce the diploma because it had not arrived in the mail. According to the CNN interviewer, when an inquiry was made at Washburn State University regarding his adjunct professorship, a spokesperson for the school said he "is not now and has never been a member of the Washburn University faculty." According to the school official, Parcells had once spoken to two groups of nursing students about the role of a forensic pathologist's assistant. He was not paid for his presentation.

     Had the 32-year-old forensic practitioner remained on the fringes of forensic pathology in Missouri and Kansas, he would not have become the subject of a minor forensic and media scandal. 

6 comments:

  1. are there "helpers" during autopsy and can they legally perform duties?

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    Replies
    1. http://www.pathassist.org/?page=AboutUs_StateFedLaw
      According to the American Association of Pathologists Assistance, this isn't a regulated field and certification is optional. This is frightening. It should be a licensed profession and certification required.

      Delete
  2. It is sad that you jumped on this band wagon and attacked Professor Parcells without knowing any facts at all. Sadly, the reports about him are completely wrong. Lets break these down:

    Case with the brain "missing". This brain was never missing. In fact the brain had always been in the care of Parcells. His original pathologist NEVER finished the report. Since Professor Parcells ISN'T claiming to be a pathologist, he knew he legally couldn't finish the case. So there is sat, untouched. He got sued, but finally found a pathologist who is board certified to finish the report. In late 2014 the family got their report and their case fell apart. The suit was dismissed against Mr. Parcells.

    Coroner claimnig Professor Parcells said he was a doctor. Parcells never did this, this Sheriff Deputy failed his duties to get the case files to Parcells and his pathologist, Dr. Okoye, on time so they could finish their investigation. This case involved a bleed inside the brain. The person was pushed by the grandson and fell. The next day this same person fell and hit his head. The injuries were TOO close together to determine which injury caused the bleed, the push or the fall? Parcells NOR Okoye will ever go to court claiming one or the other caused it, rather both could have caused it. Parcells and Okoye are NOT jokes and know how to testify ethically.

    Body the coroner in MO has yet to claim. Parcells still has a body at his morgue that the coroner in MO has never claimed. An autopsy was done by Parcells and Dr. Okoye but after the case was completed the coroner failed to pick up the body. Parcells has tried for years now, but without the family or the coroner claiming the body it must remain at Parcells morgue.

    Parcells is an expert who holds a masters degree in Clinical Human Anatomy and Physiology. He has years experience as a pathologist assistant in autopsy and forensic pathology! Parcells is also pushing to get pathologists assitants licensed, but that is up to the states individually, at this point only Nevada is licensing pathologist assistants. Parcells has spent time at Jackson County, LA County, and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN as part of a internship back in the early 2000s.

    Parcells has testified in court and the judges (the judge decides who is an expert and who can testify) knows Parcells experience. Parcells has testified under oath many times and an expert is based upon EDUCATION, TRAINING, AND EXPERIENCE. Parcells has been involved in over 1500 autopsy cases, therefore his experience, training, and education holds him to be an expert. He has passed four Daugbert Hearings, which are a very RIGOROUS review of credentials and that the expert is testifying to scientific evidence, not psuedo or junk science.

    Finally, Parcells will become DR PARCELLS in 2018, putting all this crap to rest and people like yourself. Sad that you don't know him, yet you write a blog like you do know him. Get a life.

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    1. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you either are or are related to this scum bag. Yes SCUM BAG! My family paid him to do an independent autopsy on my father last September due to what we felt was clearly malpractice on the part of the doctors/hospitals responsible for his care. SCUM BAG was referred to us by the funeral pallor.

      This scum bag portrays himself as a licensed expert that is allowed to be doing autopsies. Spouting off a new slew of lies that he works with and for the Mayo clinic all the time. I'm sure he is very much aware that he is not allowed to perform one without the presence of a real doctor yet he will not mention this and go and just take money from people when they are at their weakest. He full well knows how bad he's screwing people yet continues to do so.

      My family just learned all about this when speaking with lawyers. As soon as anyone see's SCUM BAGS name attached to anything it doesn't matter how good a case you have no one will be willing to touch it. This will be laughed out of court. This guys is a joke.

      Luckily for my family it's not now and never has been about money, it's about holding those accountable. They will have their day but unfortunately it will have to be after another family is suffering the loss of a loved one. Till then we will just have to spread the word about this SCUM BAG.

      It's fantastic that in 2018 he will be Dr. SCUM BAG but he will still be a witness that has ZERO credibility in any court in this country. He has been caught in too many lies, and done too much wrong to ever be taken seriously by anyone ever again. But that won't matter because he will just keep robbing people during their time of need and making bad situations worst for them.

      You have the nerve to tell someone to get a life, how do you people sleep at night?

      By the way, it's been almost a year and we still do not have the worthless autopsy report we paid SCUM BAG for.

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    2. This man lies about everything all the way down to the fact that he is a married man. I have also recently seen an article that is saying he is a minister. Shame on this man for ever thinking he should teach anyone about honesty and religion. What a joke all around. He should have been flagged along time ago.

      Delete
  3. http://www.pathassist.org/?page=AboutUs_StateFedLaw
    According to the American Association of Pathologists Assistance, this isn't a regulated field and certification is optional. This is frightening. It should be a licensed profession and certification required.

    ReplyDelete