After dying from cystic fibrosis in August 2015, Julie Mott was supposed to be cremated.
But the 25-year-old’s body vanished at Mission Park Funeral Chapels & Cemeteries in San Antonio one day after her funeral, according to KENS5.
Her grieving parents, Sharlotte and Timothy Mott, filed a lawsuit against the funeral home and its owners, Kristin and Robert “Dick” Tips, according to the San Antonio Express-News. They argued that the facility’s security was out of date and that third-party contractors had access to bodies.
After three weeks of deliberation, a jury gave $4 million to each of Mott’s parents for “mental anguish sustained in the past” and “mental anguish that, in reasonable probability, will be sustained in the future,” Spectrum News reported. They originally asked for $10 million.
But Mark Greenwald, a lawyer for the family, told KSAT12 that “this isn’t about the money.”
“Money isn’t going to return the body of their daughter to them,” he said. “And that’s just a fact. It’s a sad fact.”
According to KSAT12, an attorney for the funeral home argued in court that a stolen body “was something that the funeral home never could have anticipated.”
The Tipses also alleged that Mott’s ex-boyfriend stole her body, according to the News-Express. But the jury answered “no” to the question “Did either John Doe or Bill Wilburn unlawfully appropriate the body of Julie Mott with the intent to deprive Tim and Sharlotte Mott of the remains?”
Mott’s ex-boyfriend was considered as a possible suspect in the case, but no arrests have been made as the investigation continues.
Robert Tips testified in court that the security codes at the funeral home had been the same for 20 years, KENS5 reported.
It took three hours for the jury to reach a decision on Tuesday, but neither of Julie Mott’s parents was in court to hear the decision. Her father had a mild heart attack on Friday and was recovering, the News-Express wrote.
A longtime friend of the family, Greenwald said that what the Motts really want is to find their daughter’s body — or at least learn what happened to it.
“We really thought, when we started this case, that we would know more,” he told KENS5. “Today is bittersweet. We still want to know what happened. Julie Mott is a wonderful kid, and she deserves better.”
It’s unknown whether the Tipses will appeal the decision.