A Midlothian family is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a missing person. In addition to being concerned about the welfare of a cousin missing since mid-August, funeral arrangements for the cousin’s mother cannot proceed until Mark Anthony Shenkir has been located.

“My wife’s aunt, Otelia Clara Shenkir, passed away Thursday night in a Cleburne nursing facility. Since Friday I have been assisting my wife in trying to follow through on her aunt’s last wishes regarding her funeral, but it has turned into a legal nightmare and we don’t know where else to turn,” explained Midlothian resident Wayne Nance.

Nance said although Shenkir left detailed, hand-written instructions for her funeral and has more than enough funds in her bank accounts at First Financial Bank and Wells Fargo in Cleburne to cover the $8,300 funeral, she did not have a will and the banks cannot release the funds until her son, who is on record as her next of kin, authorizes the transaction.

“That’s when everything turned upside down,” Nance said.

Mark had been living with his mother at her home at Princeton Place in Cleburne until she was placed in a nursing facility in mid-August.

Although Nance's wife Shannon had been visiting her aunt in the nursing facility, he said they had had little contact with her cousin.

Over the weekend, Nance and his wife went to the aunt's home and discovered Mark’s wallet containing his driver’s license, all of his credit cards, cash and his cell phone sitting on a desk in his room. His clothes and suitcases appeared to be undisturbed and there were no indications that he had left on a trip. Nance also discovered what appeared to be dried blood on the wall in his room as if a struggle had taken place.

The Cleburne Police Department was called to the home and began an investigation. Nance said a Cleburne investigator informed him Monday there had been no activity on Mark’s credit cards, bank account or cell phone since mid-August, and there were no reports that he had been stopped by any law enforcement agency.

A missing person report was issued by the Cleburne Police Department Monday, Oct. 28, seeking information on the whereabouts of Mark Anthony Shenkir, 47, described as six-feet, two-inches tall, brown eyes, brown hair and weighing between 300-350 pounds.

While the family is concerned about Mark’s safety, Nance said the most pressing issue at hand is the burial of his wife’s aunt.

“Rosser Funeral Home in Cleburne, where Shannon’s aunt wanted to have her service, won’t do anything until one of the two banks release her funds. The banks won’t release the funds to the funeral home until we find Mark and he authorizes the transfer. I offered to sign a letter of guarantee covering the $8,3000 funeral, but both banks said their hands were tied. Even though Aunt Otelia left hand-written instructions, because she didn’t leave a will, the funeral home won’t do anything unless Mark says it’s OK. In the meantime, no one knows where Mark is, how to find him and I hate to say this, or if he’s still alive. Meanwhile, his poor mother’s remains are being held in a state of limbo at the funeral home and from what everyone is telling us, that situation could go on for weeks or months unless we can find Mark,” Nance said.

A best-selling author and successful businessman, Nance and his wife relocated to Midlothian three years. Having spent his career dedicated to helping others, Nance said he’s extremely frustrated by the legal red tape and is hoping someone knows where Mark is or what happened to him so his wife can provide her aunt with a proper Christian burial.

“We just want to do what’s right and give this woman the burial she deserves,” Nance said. “We’re asking for the community’s help in finding her son so we can make that happen and let her rest in peace.”

Anyone with information on Mark Anthony Shenkir is being asked to contact the Cleburne Police Department at 817-645-0980.