New clues about the business relationships of a San Antonio funeral home may shed some light on the disappearance of a woman’s body missing for two years.
Court documents examined by the San Antonio Express-News raise questions about a business relationship between the Mission Park Funeral Home and a third-party mortuary service. The employees of the outside mortuary service have “unfettered” access to the funeral home after normal business hours. The company was sued previously, the San Antonio newspaper reported.
The body of 25-year-old Julie Mott disappeared from the Mission Park Funeral Home shortly after she died on August 8, 2015, Breitbart Texas reported. Her family gathered at the Mission Park Funeral Chapels North for the service to mourn her loss and celebrate her life. Just hours later, as her body remained locked in the funeral home overnight, somebody took her from her family again.
“There wasn’t any forced entry to the facility,” Sergeant Javier Salazar told KSAT’s Stephanie Serna. “So, what it’s believed is between the hours of 1:30 p.m. when the service ended to about 4:30 p.m. when they locked up for the evening, someone came in and stole Ms. Mott’s remains. That person remains at large.”
Mott’s father contracted embalming and cremation services through Mission Park for a fee of $7,500 the local newspaper reported this week. The family held a memorial service for Mott at noon on her 26th birthday, August 15. About 1:30 everyone left the funeral home except for her ex-boyfriend, Bill Wilburn. The newspaper reported he became “obsessed” over Mott even though they ended their relationship two years earlier. Court documents show Wilburn remained in the chapel for 10 to 15 minutes after everyone left. Mission Park employees escorted him to the door and locked it behind him. When they left, the employees set the overnight alarm system.
The following morning, employees arrived to discover Mott’s empty casket. The casket had a damaged hinge and appeared to be in an “unnatural” position, the newspaper reported. The police report stated there was no sign of forced entry into the building and the alarm had not been triggered.
Following an investigation, San Antonio police named Wilburn as a person of interest in Mott’s disappearance. However, the investigation, multiple searches for the body and a $20,000 reward have not been enough to lead to the recovery of Mott’s remains.
“We just want our daughter’s remains returned so we can have some closure to our grief,” Julie’s father, Tim Mott told reporters at the time.
The court documents discuss the business relationship between the funeral home and the subcontractor, Beyer & Beitel. It appears Mission Park attempted to keep the relationship secret, the Express-News reported.
“After initially denying the use of subcontractors to transport and embalm deceased loved ones, Mission Park now admits that they have used the subcontractor for many years, without any supervision to speak of, by Mission Park,” the family’s attorney claims.
The employees of Beyer & Beitel had full access to the Mission Park facility including keys and the alarm codes. Employees testified they regularly used the keys and alarm codes to enter the building after hours to deliver or pick up bodies. Mission Park has since changed the policy, limiting pickups and deliveries to normal business hours.
Court records reveal Beyer & Beitel was named in another lawsuit relating to the mishandling of the body of a 73-year-old woman shortly before the Mott incident. Its parent company MPII, Inc., has been sued for “damages and breach of contract” a dozen times over the past 17 years, the Express-News reported.
Police continue their investigation into the missing woman’s body. “We’re following the leads as they come in,” San Antonio Police Department spokesman Jesse Salame told the local newspaper. “This case was handled in a way that a homicide would be investigated. We’re not taking any evidence for granted, and we’ve been re-examining things. It’s been a very comprehensive investigation.”
As for Wilburn, it appears his reported obsession with Mott has not subsided. In February 2016, Mott’s family notified the police about Wilburn’s alleged practice of calling at odd hours of the night asking for updates on the search for her body. He also is reported to have violated a trespass order at the funeral home on multiple occasions in June 2016. Police later arrested him on two counts of trespassing.
“In my opinion, [the security camera footage] demonstrates Wilburn’s ongoing obsession with remaining at the center of his own narrative, repeatedly driving around the facility, looking in windows, shaking door handles, and staring straight into monitoring cameras,” University of Texas-San Antonio professor James D. Calder testified. Calder specializes in crime and politics and was asked by attorneys for Mission Park to serve as an expert witness.
He testified that Wilburn’s actions far exceeded the “range of any normal person who would claim to police investigators that he had nothing to do with a crime, such as the theft of human remains.”
The investigation continues.