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'Chop Shop' insider says body donation business remains highly unregulated

Posted: 9:27 PM, Jul 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-27 14:26:44-04
Body donation firm owner sentenced to probation

PHOENIX — Since our story first aired back in 2014 of the FBI raiding the Biological Research Center in Phoenix, new sources have come forward with inside information about the industry.

"Beyond horrible things," says the woman speaking in anonymity.

She is a former employee at a facility that runs very similarly to the way the Biological Research Center was depicted by an FBI agent who participated in the raid in 2014.

"Like a butcher, I would say... body parts sewed together like rag dolls," the woman added. "There were donors in garbage bags in the freezer without being wrapped, without being tagged, without labels, without any identification."

The woman recalled one case in particular; a corpse she was sent to identify at a Valley airport.

"It had been sitting in an Arizona airport warehouse for 15 days... that was somebody's father, somebody's grandfather that was just rotting," she said.

According to the insider, the industry remains highly unregulated.

"They [full body donation businesses] are popping up left and right. It doesn't take any specific qualification; there's nothing you need, nothing but capital to start a whole body donation process," the insider said.

She says each corpse can bring in about a $4,000 profit. The facility where she worked received about 50 donated bodies every month. She says the company had other facilities in other states that bring in about 80 donated bodies each month.

"When you think of a car and pulling as many parts as you can to make as much money as you can, that is exactly what they are doing to a human body," she said.

Attorney Mike Burg is representing families suing the Biological Research Center in a civil case. He says many of them were deceived when their loved ones alleged ashes came back from the BRC.

"Many of them had the remains tested. For a good number of them, it was cement dust with other things in there," says Burg.
 
In most of these cases, these families were promised free cremations, no death certificate, or transport fees in exchange for signing away their loved ones.

"These families don't know," says the insider.

The paperwork these families have signed off on includes a clause which calls for disarticulation.

"Most people don't know and won't know what disarticulation means. That we are going to cut up the body and we are gonna sell it off in parts," the insider said.