August 27, 2019

USA: New Gruesome Details In Lawsuit Against Phoenix Body-Donation Business FBI Raided In 2014 In A Human Body Parts Trafficking Investigation. Male Torso With Small Female Head Sown On. 😱

FBI shines light on now shut down "human chop shop" in Phoenix
ABC15 News, Phoenix local
written by Nicole Valdes
July 20, 2019

PHOENIX — Several years have passed since Biological Resource Center shut its doors, but new court documents detail the hidden horrors investigators found inside.

Former FBI Assistant Special Agent Mark Cwynar's testimony says he observed buckets of heads, arms and legs inside the building off 24th street and University Drive.

Cwynar also said he saw a cooler filled with male genitalia, body parts piled on top of each other with no apparent identification to indicate what bodies they came from, and even a torso "with the head removed and replaced with a similar head sewn together in a Frankenstein manner."

The Federal Bureau of Investigations raided the Phoenix based body-donor facility in 2014, after allegations that the company was selling parts of those donated bodies for profit.

At least eight families say they donated the bodies of their loved ones to the facility for medical research, but are now suing the company and its owner, Stephen Gore, for mishandling their corpses, and failing to meet the promises made in their consent forms.

Gore pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to probation.

Gore will appear in court in October to face several Arizona families who've filed civil suits against him and BRC.

12 News published on Jul 25, 2019: Phoenix body donation company revealed to be body parts ring. A Phoenix body donation company is being accused of disrespecting the dead and lying to family members after a recently released FBI report the company, Biological Resource Center, was actually a body parts ring. Documents show an FBI agent observed "various unsettling scenes" like un-labeled body parts in a freezer and "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."

WVTM 13 News published on Jul 24, 2019: Buckets full of body parts. Heads, bodies and genitalia of different people sewn together and hung up on a wall. New gruesome details in a lawsuit against a body donation and tissue bank facility in Phoenix, Arizona that was raided back in 2014 in a human body parts trafficking investigation. Learn more in the video above.

AZ Central News
written by Stephanie Innes, Arizona Republic
July 19, 2019

33 plaintiffs say Biological Resource Center lied to families and treated the deceased with a lack of dignity or respect.

A head sewn onto a mismatched body, a bucket of limbs and a cooler filled with penises are among items found by FBI agents during a raid on a Phoenix body-donation business.

The now-shuttered, for-profit Biological Resource Center specialized in accepting the bodies of people after they had died, and in exchange offering their families free pickup of the bodies plus the cremated remains of the body parts the company did not sell.

Arizona is a regulatory-free zone for the body-parts industry. At least four body donation companies are operating in Arizona, in addition to a non-profit cryonics company that freezes people after they die with the intent of one day bringing them back to life.

An FBI special agent, during a January 2014 raid of the Biological Resource Center, stumbled on what he described as "various unsettling scenes." The agent's grisly eyewitness account of the raid was recently revealed in a civil lawsuit against the business and its owner, Stephen Gore. The case is set for trial Oct. 21 in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Thirty-three plaintiffs have sued the Biological Resource Center, saying the remains of their family members were obtained through "false statements," that body parts were being sold for profit to various middlemen, and that they were not stored, treated or disposed of with dignity or respect.

Reacting to the Biological Resource Center case, Arizona passed a law in 2017 that says body donation companies are not allowed without a state license. However, the law has not yet been implemented or enforced.

All four body donation companies known to be operating in Arizona are accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks, which the Biological Resource Center was not.

The Phoenix company was raided after a nationwide criminal investigation.

Efforts to reach Gore, who is listed in court filings as representing himself in the civil action, were unsuccessful.

'Frankenstein' head observed
In his declaration contained in the civil lawsuit's court file, former Phoenix FBI special agent Mark Cwynar said he "personally observed various unsettling scenes" while inside Biological Resource Center.

Many of the body parts he saw were piled on top of one another with no apparent identification to indicate what bodies they came from or to whom they belonged, he said.

In addition to a "cooler filled with male genitalia," Cwynar testified that he also saw a "large torso with the head removed and replaced with a smaller head sewn together in a 'Frankenstein' manner."

Cwynar said he saw:
  • Large male torsos with limbs and genitalia removed.
  • Buckets and coolers with various body parts, including a bucket of heads, arms and legs.
  • Body parts piled on top of each other throughout the facility, with no apparent identification.
  • Steel freezers with frozen body parts inside with no apparent identification.
Court documents included a report from two experts for the plaintiffs that referred to a 2013 request to use at least two Biological Resource Center bodies for the purpose of "plastination for education." The experts said plastination, which is a way of preserving entire human bodies, should require separate consent because the preservation is more permanent and the bodies are often publicly displayed.

In October 2015, Gore tearfully pleaded guilty to conducting an illegal enterprise after accusations that he had provided vendors with contaminated human tissue and used body parts in ways that the donors had not permitted.

In a letter to Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville before his December 2015 sentencing, Gore wrote that he felt overwhelmed, but that he was working in an industry with "no formal regulations" to reference for guidance.

"I could have been more open about the process of donation on the brochure we put in public view," Gore wrote. "When deciding which donors could be eligible to donate, I should have hired a medical director rather than relying on medical knowledge from books or the internet."

Research by plaintiffs' lawyers says Gore's highest level of education was high school, and that he did not have any licenses or certifications applicable to body donation program operations.

Torso with head: $2,400

The Biological Resource Center was a for-profit body donation company that accepted donations of bodies after people died. The company gave donors and their families free transportation services to pick up the body, plus free cremation.

One of the problems is that some families thought that a body "donation" meant their loved ones' bodies were being given to a charity to help with disease research. Some mistakenly thought the Biological Resource Center would be donating their loved ones' organs, not knowing that organ donation and body donation are not the same thing.

Not all were aware the Biological Resource Center often dismembered and sold various body parts.

A 2013 price list that is part of the court file indicates sale prices for body parts:
  • Whole body with no shoulders or head: $2,900.
  • Torso with head: $2,400.
  • Whole spine: $950.
  • Whole leg: $1,100.
  • Whole foot: $450.
  • Knee: $375.
  • Pelvis: $400.

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