Several years since a body-donor facility was shut down, FBI agents have revealed the horrifying details of what they found inside.
The Biological Resource Center, based in Phoenix, Arizona, was raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigations in 2014 after allegations that the company was selling parts of the donated bodies for profit.
Now, court records have detailed what the FBI saw inside the facility for the first time, including buckets of heads, arms and legs, as well as a cooler filled with male genitalia.
Former FBI Assistant Special Agent Mark Cwynar’s testimony says he observed body parts piled on top of each other, with no apparent identification to indicate what bodies they came from, ABC15 Arizona reports.
Also found inside the building, just off 24th Street and University Drive, was a male torso ‘with the head removed and replaced with a similar head sewn together in a Frankenstein manner’. The head was from a female.
Investigators discovered 10 tons of frozen human remains in total, comprising of 1,755 body parts which included 281 heads, 241 shoulders, 337 legs, and 97 spines, Reuters reports.
Authorities hauled away the contents of the facility’s freezers, filling 142 body bags. One bag held parts from at least 36 different people. In fact, the seizure was so large officials struggled to properly handle the body parts.
At least eight families say they donated their loved ones bodies to the facility under the impression they were carrying out medical research. Now, they are suing the company and its owner, Stephen Gore.
As reported by the Arizona Republic newspaper, so far 33 plaintiffs have sued the Biological Research Center, saying the remains of their family members were obtained through ‘false statements,’ body parts were being sold for profit, and that they were not stored, treated or disposed of with dignity or respect.
Matthew Parker, another former FBI agent who worked on the BRC case, told Reuters he got PTSD from moving the body bags from the facility.
I couldn’t sleep at night after seeing that.
It looked like a junkyard chop shop where they are just ripping things apart.
Arizona is a regulatory-free zone for the body-parts industry, and at least four body donation companies are currently operating in the state – in addition to a non-profit cryonics company which freezes people after they die with the intent of one day bringing them back to life.
In response to this case, Arizona passed a law in 2017 which says body donation companies are not allowed to operate without a state license. However, that law has not yet been implemented or enforced.
Gore, the facility’s former owner, pleaded guilty to fraud for misleading customers by shipping them contaminated specimens. He was sentenced to one year of deferred jail time and four years of probation.
He will appear in court in October to face several families who have filed civil suits against him.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).