Family members of deceased people who donated their bodies “solely for medical and scientific purposes” are suing Biological Resource Center Inc. for mishandling, abusing, desecrating and selling their family members’ body parts for profit, according to the suit.
Former Phoenix FBI assistant special agent Mark Cwynar recently testified in the civil litigation that when the FBI raided Biological Resource Center Inc. in 2014, he “observed several unsettling scenes.”
Cwynar wrote, “I observed a large torso with the head removed and replaced with a smaller head sewn together in a ‘Frankenstein’ manner.” He continued, “I observed body parts piled on top of each other throughout the facility with no apparent identification to indicate what bodies they came from or to whom they belonged,” he said.
Cwynar recalled, “buckets and coolers with various body parts, including a bucket of heads, arms, and legs” that also had no identification and were strewn in freezers. He wrote he also saw male torsos without limbs and genitalia but also saw a cooler filled with male genitalia.
According to NBC News, the families of the victims were told: “the donations, if accepted, would be used solely for medical and/or scientific research… that donor bodies would be treated with dignity and respect; and that donor bodies would not be dismembered and/or sold for profit.”
The civil suit filed in 2015 also said the families were told that the unused remains of their family members’ bodies would be cremated and returned to them. While some did receive boxes that were said to have been filled with their loved ones’ ashes, most of the bodies were dismembered, “commingled” and improperly disposed of, according to the suit. To make matters worse, some were even illegally sold for profit, the lawsuit said.
“The defendants’ acts were so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and are regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community. Defendants either intended to cause plaintiffs emotional distress or recklessly disregarded the near certainty that such distress resulted from their conduct,” the suit said. In the meantime, thirty family members are participating in the civil suit filed in Maricopa County, Arizona, and are seeking punitive and compensatory damages for “severe, permanent and extreme emotional and mental suffering and grief, as well as resulting in physical illnesses.”
Stephen Gore, the owner of Biological Resource Center Inc., pleaded guilty in 2015 to illegally conducting an enterprise and was sentenced to 12 months deferred jail time and four years of probation.