An Arizona man whose 73-year-old mother died five years ago was shocked to learn that her body had been sold to the military for "blast testing."
Jim Stauffer's mother, Doris Stauffer, died in hospice care after suffering from Alzheimer's disease in her final years, according to KNXV-TV. As Doris approached death, Jim searched for donation facilities that might want to study her brain.
Jim ultimately found the Biological Resource Center. He told KNXV that the group arrived to pick up his mother's body just 45 minutes after she died.
He signed documents granting permission for what could and could not be done with his mother's body. A few days later, he received a wooden box in the mail with what were supposedly most of his mother's ashes. It turned out that wasn't the case.
"I feel foolish," Jim Stauffer told KNXV. "Because I’m not a trusting person, but in this situation, you have no idea this is going on — you trust. I think that trust is what they fed on.”
Jim learned the truth after a Reuters reporter showed him documents indicating that his mother had actually been sold to the military for "blast testing."
“She was then supposedly strapped in a chair on some sort of apparatus, and a detonation took place underneath her to basically kind of get an idea of what the human body goes through when a vehicle is hit by an IED,” Jim told KNXV.
The finding came after a 2017 report in which the news outlet investigated the Biological Resource Center and its process of selling corpses in the so-called "body broker" industry.
The FBI raided the center's facilities in 2014, finding gruesome images including buckets full of limbs and bodies sewn together in a "Frankenstein manner."
Jim Stauffer is now one dozens of people who have sued the Biological Resource Center and its owner, Stephen Gore, for mishandling the corpses of their loved ones.
Jim claims he signed documents specifically prohibiting the exact thing that ultimately happened to his mother's body.
“There was actually wording on this paperwork about performing this stuff," he told KNXV. "Performing these medical tests that may involve explosions, and we said no. We checked the 'no' box on all that.”
Jim also told KNXV he still struggles with the thought of his mother's corpse being treated so brutally.
"I don't see a pathway of ever getting past this," he said. “ Every time there’s a memory, every time there’s a photograph you look at, there’s this ugly thing that happened just right there staring right at you.”