Raid on 'body broker' business finds 'infected heads', 'cooler filled with male genitalia'

The Biological Resource Center was closed after an FBI raid.
The Biological Resource Center was closed after an FBI raid. Photo credit: Reuters

Warning: This article contains graphic details that may offend some people. 

Court details have revealed gruesome facts about what happens in the so-called "body broker" business in the United States. 

According to witness accounts, which just became public this week, when the FBI raided one business in Arizona, they found "infected heads", a "bucket of heads, arms and legs" and "a cooler filled with male genitalia", the Arizona Republic reports.

The details came to light in a court case against the Biological Resource Center, which is being sued by 33 people who claim the company deceived them about the fate of the body parts of their loved ones.

As far as the family members knew, the company received the bodies of their loved ones in order to remove various parts and sell them for scientific or medical testing. In return, the company offered free pickup of the dead bodies from families and returned the cremated remains of the body parts it didn't sell. 

But the details made public this week reveal just how misleading the company may have been, with FBI agents recounting "various unsettling scenes" when the business was raided. 

FBI agent Mark Cwynar said he saw various body parts piled on top of each other with no apparent identification as to what bodies they came from, and a "large torso with the head removed and replaced with a smaller head sewn together in a 'Frankenstein' manner".

Gwendolyn Aloia, who gave the body of her late husband to the centre, told Time Magazine that she doesn't even know if the cremated remains she received from the company are his. 

Aloia donated her husband's remains in 2013, giving consent for them to be used in medical or scientific testing. Despite getting her husband's ashes and a letter from the company confirming her husband's parts were used for a worthy cause, she said she lost all faith when she heard that the business had been raided by the FBI. 

"I was devastated," Aloia told Time. "I’ve been violated. He’s been violated."

She said she later found out that her husband's body parts had been sold on from one third party to another and doesn't even know if the ashes she received came from her husband.

Michael Burg, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs suing the company, told Time the remains were taken through "false statements" and family members were misled about how the bodies would be treated.

According to the Arizona Republic, the case is set to go to trial in October.