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Legal Battle Over Ownership of T. Rex Fossil Found on Land Owned by Estate Rages On


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Darlene Williams handed away in 2020, over a decade after the $8 million sale of a fossilized skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex named Sue that was discovered on her household’s ranch in South Dakota in 1990.

Now, her kids are engaged in a dispute over who ought to inherit her cash, pointing to conflicting wills that Ms. Williams left, together with one she signed shortly earlier than her dying.

It is the newest authorized dispute sparked by Sue, a crown jewel of paleontology thought to be essentially the most full T. rex fossil ever discovered. The bones have been on the heart of courtroom circumstances nearly from the second fossil hunters discovered the 67 million-year-old remnants.

Before her dying in 2020, Ms. Williams had written two wills.

In a 2017 will, she appointed certainly one of her daughters, Sandra Williams Luther, as the private consultant of her property. In one other will, written in 2020, she designated that very same daughter to be her sole inheritor and the only real executor of her property.

“Please do not fight amongst you all,” the 2020 will learn. “I have lived with my children at odds for too many years.”

But one other daughter, Jaqueline Schwartz, has argued in courtroom that the second will just isn’t official and that it’s legally flawed.

According to Ms. Schwartz’s objection, simply days earlier than the 2020 will was dated, her mom was “critically ill” and admitted to a hospital. When Ms. Schwartz visited, her mom “would float in and out of consciousness,” and “was barely able to speak,” in line with courtroom papers.

Ms. Schwartz has argued that her mom was “susceptible to undue influence” due to low oxygen ranges and extreme anemia, which made it tough for her to speak, and that just one customer was allowed at a time in line with coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

In February, Ms. Schwartz filed one other petition, which requested a courtroom for permission to convey claims towards Ms. Luther and one other sibling, Carson Williams, over what Ms. Schwartz stated was the mismanagement of her mom’s funds.

Less than two weeks earlier than her mom’s dying, Ms. Williams appeared to have offered her residence, Ms. Schwartz’s petition stated, however her mom’s signature on the settlement paperwork didn’t match others.

The proceeds from the sale of the home, which amounted to round $225,000 as reported by The Associated Press, have been supposed to go to Darlene Williams, and after she died, to her property, in line with the petition.

Instead, Ms. Schwartz has stated, they have been “converted and misappropriated” by Ms. Luther and Mr. Williams, who collaborated to complement themselves after their mom’s dying.

Lawyers for the siblings didn’t reply to a number of requests for touch upon Friday and Saturday. It just isn’t clear how a lot every sibling may have gained from their mom’s property.

The T. rex fossil unearthed on the household ranch was named Sue, after Sue Hendrickson, the lady who found it throughout a industrial excavation journey. It took six folks 17 days to extract the skeleton. The dinosaur was estimated to have lived for round 28 years, in line with progress rings within the bones.

Its discovery led to a five-year custody dispute that resulted in a public public sale in 1997, in line with the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

The museum acquired the bones for $8.36 million in 1990 and now shows the skeleton, which is greater than 40 ft lengthy and 13 ft tall. The museum has 250 of roughly 380 of the bones.

The skeleton “is the most celebrated representative of T. rex and arguably the most famous fossil in the world,” the museum’s web site reads, including that it “has enabled scientists all over the world to do more detailed studies of the species’ evolutionary relationships, biology, growth and behavior than ever before.”


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