CLEBURNE –– When Otelia Shenkir died last week at 84-years-old, she left plenty of money to fulfill her wish to be laid to rest next to her husband at Green Acres Cemetery in Cleburne.
But she also left behind a son who has mysteriously disappeared, which is keeping Otelia's family from having her funeral.
"We can't get the banks to let her use her own money at this point to bury her," said Wayne Nance, who is married to Otelia Shenkir's niece. "We said, look, just pay the funeral home direct."
Her body remains in a cooler despite the $73,000 she left in local bank accounts to take care of her funeral. Relatives say banks and the funeral home told them they must wait for authorities to try to find 47-year-old Mark Shenkir.
"It's wrong. It's not fair to the family," said Nance. "If there are legal issues, let's deal with them after we get her buried."
The problem is Mark Shenkir is listed as beneficiary on at least one of his mother's bank accounts. Nance says the other account lists no beneficiary. Police say Mark Shenkir was last seen in August in a Fort Worth medical facility.
Nance says Shenkir left his wallet, cash and other belongings at the Cleburne home he shared with his mother. Mark Shenkir’s criminal past worsens the family’s emotional distress. He got out of the Johnson County Jail in August on misdemeanor charges of interfering with a 911 call and resisting arrest.
Records show his mother called police at least once seeking protection from him, but she declined to press charges.
"I just want her out of a funeral home and not just sitting there, that's indecent," Nance said. "That's wrong."