A for-profit body donation center shut down in 2014 due to a FBI raid that unveiled the company's disturbing practices. Nearly five years later, the details of the sweep have come to light.
The Biological Resource Center was one of the four body donation facilities that operated out of Arizona, which has very few regulations on the body-part industry. According to the Arizona Republic, BRC offered grieving families free pickup and disposal of their deceased loved-ones in exchange for the corpses. Many family members assumed BRC was simply donating the organs for third-party research, unaware that the company was dismembering the bodies and selling the pieces for profit.
Arizona Republic reports BRC was selling "whole bodies with no shoulders or head" for $2,900, a "torso with a head" for $2,400, a "whole leg" for $1,100, as well as feet, knees, and pelvises for under $1,000.
Thirty-three plaintiffs ultimately sued BRC for obtained the bodies through "false statements." The suit contains a sworn statement from former FBI agent Mark Cwynar, who helped conduct the 2014 raid.
Cwynar provided grisly details of what he witnessed inside the Arizona facility. He claimed to have seen a "cooler filled with male genitalia," a "bucket of hards, arms, and legs," and a "large torso with the head removed and replaced with a smaller head sewn together in a 'Frankenstein' manner."
A year after the raid, BRC owner Stephen Gore pleaded guilty to conducting an illegal enterprise in wake of accusations he had "used body parts in ways that the donors had not permitted." He was also accused of selling vendors contaminated human tissue.
"I could have been more open about the process of donation on the brochure we put in public view," Gore wrote in a 2015 letter to the court. "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."
The civil lawsuit against Gore will go to trial Oct. 21.