FBI Raid Found Cooler Full of Penises and Other Gruesome Body Parts At 'Human Chop Shop'
In 2014, the FBI was working on a multi-state criminal investigation regarding the illegal sale of human body parts. One of its suspected targets was a body donation company in Phoenix, Arizona called The Biological Resource Center. In January, 2014, The FBI raided its facility and what they discovered there was nothing short of a horror movie scene. They found buckets full of limbs, freezers full of body parts, a cooler full of penises and even a lady’s head sewn onto a large man’s torso in a Frankenstein-like manner.
The Biological Resource Center, which isn’t operating anymore, was a for-profit body donation company. They would accept the bodies of people that had passed, in exchange for offering their families free pickup of the bodies plus the cremated remains of the body parts the company did not sell.
After the FBI raid, 33 different families who donated their loved one’s bodies to the Biological Resource Center to be used for medical or scientific research, began a civil lawsuit against the business and its owner, Stephen Gore. The plaintiffs claim that the bodies of the family members were obtained through “false statements,” that body parts were being sold for profit to various middlemen, and that they were not stored, treated or disposed of with dignity or respect. The case will go to trial this fall in October, 2019.
Evidence collected by FBI agents from the Phoenix-based facility, and other companies throughout the U.S. were made public in the lawsuit.
Mark Cwynar, a former Phoenix FBI special agent, gave his declaration to the civil lawsuit court case. He said he “personally observed various unsettling scenes” while inside the Biological Resource Center. He goes on to describe that many of the body parts were piled on top of one another with no apparent identification to indicate what bodies they came or to whom they belonged.
Cwynar said he saw:
*Freezers full of body parts inside with no identification.
*Buckets and coolers with various body parts, including a bucket of heads, arms and legs.
*Large male torso with limbs and genitalia removed.
*Body parts piled on top of each other throughout the facility, with no apparent identification.
*A whole cooler full of just male genitalia.
Cwynar also stated that he saw a “large torso with the head removed and replaced with a smaller head sewn together in a ‘Frankenstein’ manner.
Gwendolyn Aloia, one of the 33 plaintiffs, spoke to TIME about the matter because she donated her husband Louis’ body to the Biological Resource Center. She signed a consent form that willed his remains to medical or scientific testing. She later discovered that some of his remains were sold to another company in Illinois, which then sold them to another company in Michigan. “I was devastated,” Aloia told TIME. “I’ve been violated. He’s been violated.” To add even more to Aloia’s suffering, she is not 100% sure that the cremated remains they sent her is even her husbands.
Many other plaintiffs allege the bodies of their family members were even sold to the Department of Defense for military testing.
Michael Burg, one off the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, commented to TIME, “They’re grave robbers, but they don’t even have to do the physical work get the body.”
In a report by AZ Central, a file from the case contains a list of body parts and their prices that were being allegedly sold in 2013.
Whole body with no shoulders or head: $2,900.
Torso with head: $2,400.
Whole spine: $950.
Whole leg: $1,100.
Whole foot: $450.
In October 2015, Stephen Gore, owner of Biological Resource Center pleaded guilty to conducting an illegal enterprise, after accusations that he had provided vendors with contaminated human tissue and used body parts in ways that the donors had not permitted.
Before his sentencing, Gore wrote a letter to Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville.
“I could have been more open about the process of donation on the brochure we put in public view,” he wrote. “When deciding which donors could be eligible to donate, I should have hired a medical director rather than relying on medical knowledge from books or the internet.”
Stephen Gore was sentenced to 4 years of probation and a deferred year in jail, which he avoided serving due to good behavior.
AZ Central reports that upon further research about Gore, the plaintiff’s lawyers says Gore’s highest level of education was high school and that he did not have any licenses or certifications applicable to body donation program operations.
This brings us to the problem that in Arizona and many other states in the US, the body donation industry is highly unregulated. But because of the Biological Resource Center case, Arizona passed a law in 2017 that says body donation companies are not allowed without a state license. However, the law has not yet been implemented or enforced yet.
There are currently four body donation companies operating right now in Arizona, all of whom are accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks.