Funeral home owner testifies in missing body trial

Julie Mott's body disappeared from Mission Park Funeral home

SAN ANTONIO – The owner of Mission Park Funeral Homes testified Wednesday that when his staff discovered a woman was not in her coffin, an immediate search of the funeral home property was conducted.

Robert "Dick" Tips returned to the witness stand in a civil trial lawsuit involving the missing body of Julie Mott, who was 25 when she died. 

Following a memorial service Aug. 15, 2015, Mott's body was placed in a viewing room, where it was awaiting transfer to a crematorium, Tips testified.

He said no alarm was triggered to indicate a break-in at the funeral home, and that he was 100 percent certain the alarm system was operational at the time.

Tips testified that when he notified Mott's family members that her body was missing, their first reaction was that Bill Wilburn, Mott's ex-boyfriend, had stolen her body.

Wilburn has been questioned by police as a "person of interest" in the case, but he has not been charged.

Mott's body has never been located.

Her family is seeking $1 million dollars in damages.

In another development Wednesday, 131st Civil District Court Judge Norma Gonzalez banned KSAT 12 News cameras from her courtroom, where the trial is being heard. Gonzales issued the ban after lawyers objected to the cameras, citing rules that cameras are only allowed if the parties agree. Cameras were allowed in the courtroom Tuesday, when the trial started.

Testimony is expected to continue Thursday.

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