When people choose to donate their bodies to science instead of opting for a more traditional burial or cremation, they almost certainly don’t expect to have their remains treated with utter disrespect by a facility likened to a “human chop shop.”
But that’s exactly how the FBI described the house of horrors they found inside The Biological Resource Center in Phoenix, Arizona, explored during a raid.
Considering that they found a refrigerator filled with penises, buckets of dismembered limbs, pools of blood, and even the head of a small woman sewn onto the body of a larger man – the result pinned on the wall like some kind of bizarre artwork – it’s hard to argue with that assessment.
Former agent Mark Cwynar described “various unsettling scenes,” like dead bodies that appeared to have been played with as a “morbid jokes” and the previously detailed bodies stitched together “like Frankenstein.”
The company’s former owner, Stephen Gore (for real), pleaded guilty to one count of illegal control of an enterprise back in 2015 but now faces a civil lawsuit brought by the families of the people whose remains were treated poorly.
Court documents state that a “price list” for various body parts was also found, and that the facility sold more than 20,000 body parts from over 5000 bodies to research facilities and medical training programs. Agents recovered more than 10 tons of human remains still in freezers on the property.
Matthew Parker, another former agent, says he’s suffering from a post-traumatic stress disorder after being among those who raided the warehouse.
“I couldn’t sleep at night after seeing that. It looked like a junkyard chop shop where they are just ripping things apart.”
Emily Glynn, a woman who interned at The Biological Resource Center in 2013, described her experience for Reuters (stop reading now if you’re squeamish), remembering how she dismembered numerous bodies without any formal training or instruction.
“I even decapitated an elderly woman with what looked and sounded like a chainsaw from Home Depot.”
Shockingly, none of this was really illegal. Until 2017, the body-brokering industry was largely unregulated in the U.S., and Arizona had particularly lax rules.
I’m guessing that every cop who was there that day, as well as everyone in the court system who had to hear about the raid in detail, would have been willing to lobby heavily for some regulation.
It’s too late for those who thought they were doing a good thing for humanity by donating their bodies for research, perhaps, but not too late for those who want to do the same in the future.
Truly appalling stuff, folks.