Scenes From the Life of a Park Cities Appraiser

There isn’t much Janelle Stone hasn’t witnessed.

GOLD DIGGER: Janelle Stone goes through your goods to estimate their value.
photography by Joshua Martin

When someone needs to sell an entire estate, they call Janelle Stone to tell them what it’s worth. With nearly 25 years in the business, there isn’t much the Park Cities appraiser hasn’t witnessed.

THE CORPSE: Stone once found a Garland woman, five days deceased, on her sofa. “We walked in there and the men in hazmat suits were right after us. Oh, my gosh. It was the most awful smell I’d ever smelled. She had been in sweltering heat, and I guess the air conditioning wasn’t on. So they shoveled her up—and I did the appraisal.”

THE FAMILY JEWEL: “My second estate sale, I was going to put the socks in a box, and all of a sudden I felt something in the toe of the sock. There was a huge, enormous emerald with diamonds. The family had lost it years before and nobody had ever seen it.”

THE SECRET CHILDREN OF INFIDELITY: “I’ll work with heirs, and other unknown heirs have come out of the woodwork. The [second heirs] will say it’s theirs, and I’ll say, ‘You know, I’m working with the original family. You’ve got to deal with the judge.’ But it happened twice the same year. It was just wild. You find a lot of infidelity. But I’m amazed I don’t find more porn.”

THE FROZEN DOG: “I sent Jonathan and Dan, two of the twentysomething guys who work for me. Well, the first thing [the heiress] said was, ‘We have wine, beer, and hard liquor.’ And this was at 9 o’clock in the morning! She opened up the freezer, and there was her dead dog—not even in a bag! Her dead dog in her freezer! Jonathan has a picture of it on his cell phone.”


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