The testimony is part of a civil lawsuit by 33 families who say the center obtained their relatives' bodies through "false statements"

By Harriet Sokmensuer
July 26, 2019 02:01 PM
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Biological Resource Center Phoenix
Credit: Google Maps

Thirty-three families in Arizona are suing a now-defunct body parts donations center, claiming the organs of their loved ones were mishandled in often grisly, disturbing ways.

In 2014, FBI agents raided Biological Research Center in Phoenix as part of a nationwide human body parts trafficking investigation.

The following year, the owner of the for-profit donation center, Stephen Gore, pleaded guilty to conducting an illegal enterprise. Now, the families who donated their relatives to BRC for medical research are suing Gore, according to court documents obtained by KKTV, the Arizona Republic and KNXV.

Details of the raid contained in documents from the lawsuit were recently made public ahead of the Oct. 21 trial date, revealing gruesome details.

Former Phoenix FBI special agent Mark Cwynar testified as part of the lawsuit that he saw buckets full of body parts, “cooler filled with male genitalia,” body parts belonging to different people sewn together and hung up on the wall and piles of unidentified bodies on the ground.

According to the lawsuit, on one wall, Cwynar recalled seeing a woman’s head sewn onto a male torso “like Frankenstein” in what the suit says appeared to be a “morbid joke.”

The lawsuit alleges that “pools of human blood and bodily fluids were found on the floor of the freezer,” and adds that bodies allegedly didn’t have identification tags, according to KKTV.

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Troy Harp, one of the plaintiffs in the civil suit, who, in 2012 and 2013, donated the bodies of his mother and grandmother to the facility, said, “This is a horror story. It’s just unbelievable.”

Harp and other plaintiffs allege their relatives’ remains were obtained through “false statements” and that the families believed they would be used for scientific research, the suit alleges.

“Cancer, and leukemia and whatever else, using sample cells, that’s what I was told,” Harp said.

The plaintiffs lawyers allege Gore’s highest education was high school, according to the Republic. In a letter to Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville before his sentencing in 2015, Gore wrote he should have hired someone with a medical background instead of “relying on medical knowledge from books or the internet.”

Gore was sentenced to one year of deferred jail time and four years of probation.