FBI agents stumbled upon a house of horrors after raiding a body-donation company in Arizona, discovering a warehouse containing a refrigerator filled with penises, buckets of limbs, pools of blood, and a human head sewn onto another body “in a ‘Frankenstein’ manner.”
The Biological Resource Center (BRC) in Phoenix, a for-profit business that assists people with donating their bodies to science, was raided by the FBI in January 2014 as part of a nationwide criminal investigation. New court documents of a civil lawsuit against the BRC have now revealed more grueling details of the investigation, The Arizona Republic and ABC15 Arizona report.
The former owner of the BCR, Stephen Gore, pleaded guilty to one count of illegal control of an enterprise in 2015 and received a sentence of four years probation. However, he now faces a civil lawsuit set to trial on October 21, 2019. At least 33 plaintiffs are suing the body-broking business, alleging the remains of their family members were obtained through "false statements" and their bodies were not stored, treated, or disposed of appropriately.
Former FBI agent Mark Cwynar stated that he saw “various unsettling scenes” at the BRC in Phoenix, including numerous dead bodies that appeared to have been played with as a "morbid joke.” One of the most shocking scenes he witnessed was a small woman’s head sewn onto a large male body “like Frankenstein” that was then hung up on the wall.
The court documents, cited by The Arizona Republic, also contained a “price list” for the various 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
According to a Reuters investigation from 2017, the Arizona-based BRC received donations from over 5,000 people and distributed more than 20,000 body parts to a number of unknown research facilities or medical training programs. After raiding the warehouse in 2014, agents discovered 10 tons of frozen human remains, including 281 heads, 241 shoulders, 337 legs, and 97 spines.
“I couldn’t sleep at night after seeing that,” Matthew Parker, a former agent who raided the warehouse and retired after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after the case, told Reuters.
“It looked like a junkyard chop shop where they are just ripping things apart.”
Emily Glynn, who interned at the "lab" in 2013, also spoke to Reuters about her experience at the BRC. Over the course of the internship, she said she dismembered numerous bodies without any formal training or instruction. She even claims to have "decapitated an elderly woman with what looked and sounded like a chainsaw from Home Depot."
The body-broking industry remains remarkably unregulated in the US, especially in Arizona. Until a new law was passed in 2017, body donation companies in Arizona didn’t even require a state license to practice their business.