FBI agents working to uncover how dismembered body parts were coming to be illegally trafficked reportedly found buckets full of heads, arms and legs, refrigerated heaps of male genitalia and different people’s body parts sewn together at a science lab in Arizona.
The Biological Resource Centre in Phoenix – a body donation and tissue bank facility – is being sued by eight families following the discovery.
The FBI followed a paper trail leading to the centre, run by owner Stephen Gore, which they said was profiting from dismembering and selling remains without donor consent.
The lab was raided by the FBI in 2014, but the testimonies detailing what the agents found have just been made public because of the lawsuits.
Agents said when they raided the lab they found the bodies had been dismembered with chainsaws and band saws, according to a report by US news outlet KMOV4.
“Pools of human blood and bodily fluids were found on the floor of the freezer,” and there were no identification tags to mark the corpses, the lawsuit reportedly alleges.
One agent said he found a “cooler filled with male genitalia”, “a bucket of heads, arms and legs”, and says he saw “infected heads”.
They also described the sight of a small woman’s decapitated head which had been sewn onto a large male torso “like Frankenstein” and hung up on a wall. The creation is reportedly referred to as a “morbid joke” in the lawsuit.
The going rate for a head was said to be $500 (£400). Arms were $750 and a whole body could fetch up to $5,000, according to ABC 15, who cited a federal search warrant.
“This is a horror story. It’s just unbelievable! This story is unbelievable,” Troy Harp, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the facility, told KMOV4.
Mr Harp had donated both his mother and grandmother to the facility in 2012 and 2013 on the understanding the bodies would be used for scientific purposes.
“Cancer, and leukaemia and whatever else, using sample cells,” said Mr Harp. “That’s what I was told.”
Speaking about what the agents found, Mr Harp said: “Who in their right mind... It’s absolutely gross.”
He also said the use of chainsaws and band saws for dismembering the bodies were “not appropriate”.
The lawsuit alleges the illegal activity at the centre dates back to 2007, according to ABC15.
Mr Gore pleaded guilty in October 2018 to illegal control of an enterprise, and was sentenced to one year of deferred jail time and four years probation.