Human Chop Shop


Jeremiah Bailey, Staff Writer

This chop shop isn’t what you thought it would be,this shop dismembers bodies not animals or cars.In Phoenix, Arizona people donate the body of their loved ones to the advancement of science and health only to find out that the body was being used for government testing.

In 2013, Stauffer didn’t know that the ashes he received were just from his mother’s hand. He discovered later on that his mother had been sent to the pentagon were Stauffer’s mom was used as a dummy to test the effect of an IED explosion on the human body.

“She was then supposedly strapped in a chair on some sort of apparatus,” Stauffer told KNXV News “and a detonation took place underneath her to basically get an idea of what the human body goes through when a vehicle is hit by an IED.”

The shocking revelation would lead Stauffer to join more than 20 others in a lawsuit against Biological Resource Center alleging fraud and deception. Even though it’s legal to sell body parts for research, it is not legal to sell infected body parts or to deceive the families donating the body about how it will be used.

 Lawyer Michael S. Burg stated in a Washington Post article that this case was the first of its kind and hoped the verdict would send a message to the rest of the industry about the consequences for deceiving body donors.

“The selling of human remains is an underground industry that most people don’t know about,” Burg said. “These funeral homes defrauded grieving families by obtaining the remains of their loved ones and then selling body parts on the black market.

Biological Resource Center’s attorney, Timothy O’Connor, argued that the plaintiffs signed consent agreements that said bodies could be “disarticulated,” and stressed that dismembering a body “doesn’t mean it hasn’t been treated with dignity and respect,” the Arizona Republic reported.

Later in a 2016 investigation “Reuters investigates” regarding the dismembering of the bodies. Evidence arrived showing that even some family’s didn’t consent to their family members being used for scientific research or otherwise. Stauffer said he checked “no” for military or traffic experiments.

In Maricopa County Superior Court, a jury awarded $58 million in damages to the plaintiffs, finding that the Phoenix body donation company and its owner deceived the families into donating their loved ones’ bodies only for them to end up dismembered and distributed for profit all over the country. Ten out of 21 plaintiffs were awarded the damages, which included $50 million in punitive damages and $8 million in compensatory damages. 

Soon after the plaintiffs were awarded their money the Biological resource center was shut-down and never to be opened again.