Human chop shop: Body donation center made Frankenstein cadavers, US Army blew ‘em up
A long-awaited court case against a medical research cadaver company has begun, and the grisly details have been laid bare in testimony, including the macabre discovery of a ‘Frankenstein’ torso with another body’s head sewn on.
During an FBI raid on the center in 2014, distraught agents discovered tables stacked with dismembered human body parts, refrigerators stuffed with severed legs and heads, and a torso with the head of another cadaver sewn on.
Mark Cwynar, a retired FBI employee, compared the scene to Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein.’
“I personally observed several individuals emotionally upset. Some individuals refused to go back into the scene,” Cwynar claimed during his testimony.
The now-defunct medical research cadaver company Biological Resource Center (BRC), formerly based in Arizona, is accused of misleading customers who donated their loved ones’ remains for medical and scientific research, only for BRC to sell the cadavers to third parties, including the US military.
Companies like BRC provide universities, medical device manufacturers, and drug companies with human cadavers to improve their testing, all while helping to cover funeral, burial and cremation costs incurred by the deceased’s relatives.
In BRC’s case, donor families were promised boxes containing their deceased loved ones’ remains, but later discovered the bodies had been sold to a third party. BRC owner Stephen Douglas Gore pleaded guilty in October to the felony charge of mishandling donated body parts.
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In one tragic instance, Jim Stauffer donated his deceased 74-year-old mother’s body only for it to emerge later that her remains were strapped to a chair and blown up by the US Army.
“I’m not a trusting person, but in this situation – you have no idea this is going on – you trust. That trust is what they feed on,” Stauffer said.
David TeSelle, who represents the 23 plaintiffs and their families, is seeking unspecified damages. He showed a price list during the trial, which reportedly listed a torso without a head selling for $4,000.
One of BRC’s lawyers, Timothy O’Connor, said on Monday that the families had signed release forms consenting to the dissection of the bodies and that it was legal for the BRC and other such facilities to make a profit.
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