The scene at a now-defunct tissue bank in Arizona was a “horror story,” says one of the plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit.
“This is a horror story,” plaintiff Troy Harp told KPHO. “It’s just unbelievable. This story is unbelievable.”
He donated his late mother and grandmother to the Biological Resource Center, thinking their remains would be used to research ways to fight cancer and other maladies. But when FBI agents raided the scene in 2014, they discovered the kind of environment usually seen in films.
An FBI agent claimed to find a cooler containing “male genitalia,” a bucket full of heads, arms, and legs, “inflected heads,” and a woman’s head sewn onto a man’s torso “like Frankenstein.” For all intents and purposes, that tissue bank is gone. It sank as a result of an investigation into the illegal trafficking and sale of human body parts.
Family members in the surrounding criminal cases and lawsuit said the bodies of their loved ones were mishandled, and that even if they got their loved ones’ ashes as expected, they’re not even sure that those remains are the correct ones.
In 2015, Stephen Gore, the owner of Biological Resource Center, got a deferred prison sentence and four years on probation, and was ordered to pay restitution, according to Fox 10 Phoenix. He had pleaded guilty to illegal control of a criminal enterprise. He admitted that that BRC trafficked in contaminated remains, and used bodies in manners that contradicted the person’s requests.
“I’m not here to offer any excuses,” he said at his sentencing. “There were mistakes made. However, they were never for a financial gain. The mistakes that were made were done, in my opinion, in the best interest for what we thought the donors and their families,” he added.
Lawsuit records don’t name an attorney. Gore could not be reached for comment as of press time. His lawyer in the criminal matter didn’t immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.
[Image via ABC 15 screengrab]
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