Civil trial for Julie Mott, whose body disappeared from funeral home, begins

Family seeks more than $1 million in damages

SAN ANTONIO – In their opening statement to the jury Tuesday, lawyers for the family of Julie Mott, 25, said that Mission Park Funeral Homes “broke a promise” after the body of their daughter could not be found.

Mott died on Aug. 8, 2015, following a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis.

Following her memorial service on Aug.15 at Mission Park, her body, which was waiting to be cremated, could not be found.

“There are no written (rules) to tell employees exactly what they are supposed to do,” attorney Ron Salazar told the jury in his opening statement. “Exactly what the management expectation is in this situation.”

Salazar criticized the funeral home calling their handling of the situation “grossly negligent.” They claimed that the security system and locks were inadequate.

Attorneys for the funeral home say that Mott’s ex-boyfriend, Bill Wilburn, took the body.

“Bill Wilburn did this,” defense attorney Raul Reyna said. “From the start, the Mott family immediately blamed Bill Wilburn as being responsible.”

Wilburn has been interviewed by police as a "person of interest" but has never been charged.

Salazar told the jury that the Wilburn matter is a criminal investigation and not part of this civil trial.

“This case is, and always will be, about who accepted responsibility for protecting Julie and maintaining care, custody and control,” Salazar said.

Mission Park owner Dick Tipps took the stand on Tuesday afternoon.

The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, will resume at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday in 131st District Court. will livestream it throughout the day.

Here is the latest from KSAT 12 News reporter Paul Venema, who is covering the trial:

See a timeline detailing the unexplained disappearance of Julie Mott's body.

To read a copy of the lawsuit, click here.


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Search goes on for Julie Mott's stolen remains

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