Gruesome new details in PHX body parts operation

Posted at 9:16 PM, Jan 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-30 00:42:57-05

Graphic new details coming to light in a multi-state body broker case that leads right back to Phoenix.

An indictment unsealed Friday helps explain what was happening to donated bodies once they left Phoenix and went to another body broker in Michigan.

Art and Elizabeth Rathburn have been arrested for running the business out of Detroit.

The indictment alleges the Rathburns purposefully bought diseased bodies, infected with HIV and Hepatitis, Sepsis, because they're cheaper and then sold them as new for a huge profit to doctors and dentists for training.

The feds also say the bodies were cut with saws that you're more likely to find at your local hardware store than a medical facility, human heads stacked on top of each other and then put on ice and never embalmed often causing body fluids to leak.

The documents say the body parts were transported in ordinary camping coolers and trash bags to be shipped on commercial flights across the country.

Art and Elizabeth Rathburn are facing more than a dozen federal charges including include multiple counts of wire fraud, aiding and abetting, making false statements and one count of transportation of hazardous materials.

The donor’s families were adamant they never wanted their loved ones bodies to be dismembered or sold for profit.

Troy Harp has now joined the civil suit against Steve Gore, the owner of BRC in Phoenix, who was sentenced to a year in prison and four years' probation in the federal case.

Harp says he believed he was helping science and creating a legacy for his mother and grandmother when he donated their bodies.

"This is not sending a material object down the road. This is real heart and soul, caring individuals that had a life,” Harp said.

He says the Rathburn’s arrest is a big milestone but still of small comfort after two years of heartbreaking discoveries.

"It’s a tragedy that's never resolved, keeps going on and deeper and deeper.” Said Harp, “It's not what we signed on for."

Read the entire indictment here.