For years, the massive, mostly intact dinosaur skeleton known as T-rex Sue has been at the center of a legal battle. The final dispute is over who gets what’s left of the money from Sue’s sale.
Fossil hunters discovered the skeleton in 1990 on property owned by Maurice and Darlene Williams on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. Because of the location on the reservation, the discovery led to years of court battles over property rights.
The couple were eventually able to claim the rights and earned $7.6 million at auction for Sue, which is now on display at the Field Museum in Chicago. The museum’s website states that Sue is the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex specimen ever discovered, measuring 40 feet long and 13 feet hip-high.
Maurice Williams died in 2011. Darlene Williams later moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she died in December 2020. The couple had four children and three of the siblings were involved in a court dispute over property. KELO-TV reported.
At the center of the dispute: Darlene Williams had two wills, according to records filed in Lincoln County, South Dakota. The first document, signed in 2017, listed all of his children and grandchildren and named his daughter, Sandra Williams Luther, as the person responsible for settling the estate and executing the will.
But a second will dated November 25, 2020, less than three weeks before Darlene Williams’ death, named Luther as the sole heir and executor. The document also quotes Darlene Williams as saying that she had been at odds with her children for too long and that she hoped that with her death they would find peace and become a family again.
His other daughter, Jacqueline Schwartz, questioned whether the second will was legal. Her mother was critically ill and in hospice care when she signed the document without witnesses in the room due to COVID-19 restrictions, she said.
Schwartz also objected to the sale of his mother’s home in Spearfish, South Dakota, two weeks before her death. Court records show $225,000 of the proceeds went to Darlene Williams’ son, Carson Williams.
A court date has not been set.