Disturbing FBI investigation involves cadavers, body parts, and possible black market connections

By: Molly Gorny | Date: Wed, September 17th, 2014

Body Parts Investigation
Workers remove evidence from Biologic Resource Center during body parts raid.

Body Parts Investigation

Workers remove evidence from Biologic Resource Center during body parts raid.

Sounding much like the plot of an episode of CSI, the details of an FBI investigation into the body parts business are starting to unfold. So far, there appears to be a connection between operations in Michigan and Arizona. A hospital in Oregon is also a target but its relationship to the other two targets is not yet clear. Officials appear to be looking for evidence that body parts, which have been donated for scientific research, are being sold on the black market.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a particularly morbid case on their hands: they are investigating a series of body donation programs. The programs, spread across Oregon, Michigan, and Arizona, collect the remains of those who wish to have their corpses used for medical research.
Federal officials have offered very little insight into the investigation or how the three facilities in question might be linked. The Guardian received confirmation of the Oregon investigation, as well as the raids in Arizona and Michigan, from an FBI official. However, when asked for further information, the federal officials had no further comment. In a phone call with federal officials seeking comment as to what the raids unveiled, The Wire was offered no additional information.

Read the full story: FBI is shutting down shady cadaver centers left and right.

Word of the investigation actually began to spread late last year when the Bureau conducted a raid on a Detroit company, International Biological Inc. The company is owned by Mr. Arthur Rathburn, a former mortician whose license was suspended in February 2014 as a result of the investigation.

Rathburn is one of several characters named in Annie Cheney’s book ‘Body Brokers’ first released in 2006. The book is an expose in America’s underground trade in human remains. A lucrative business, the book claims corpses sold for medical studies and U.S. Army land mine research explosion tests can generate up to ten thousand dollars.

An excerpt from the book says Rathburn started his own business supplying body parts. The book says: “In 2002 Rathburn, by his own account, Rathburn delivered 42 heads and necks delivered to the Marriott Marquis on Broadway … delivered from his company in Detroit.”

Read the full story: FBI searches Detroit property for more than 24 hours.

In January federal agents raided the Biological Resource Center of Arizona owned by a Mr. Steve Gore. There is some indication that Mr. Gore and Mr. Rathburn have been working together but so far neither has been charged with any crimes.

Investigators from the FBI and Attorney General’s Office have spent the past few days removing potential evidence from the business on 24th Street. Agents could be seen removing what appeared to be body bags and boxes of documents.

BRC President Stephen Gore says agents questioned him for three hours and tells 3TV he has nothing to hide.

While agents have not confirmed the reason for the investigation, sources say the case is linked to a probe in Detroit focused on the illegal sale and trafficking of body parts.

Gore says the insinuation that his company sold body parts on the black market is “ridiculous.”
He said his business has 150 clients, mostly universities that use the bodyparts for medical training.

Read the full story: Owner of Biological Resource Center says he’s done nothing wrong.

As part of the investigation, authorities have also subpoenaed records from Portland, Oregon’s Legacy Health, a hospital affiliated with Legacy Research Institute.

Authorities subpoenaed records from Portland, Ore.-based Legacy Health, a hospital chain that also operates Legacy Research Institute in Portland. The institute uses cadavers for research and to train doctors and nurses for surgery.
Legacy said it cooperated with the subpoenas, issued in conjunction with a federal grand jury investigation in Michigan.
“Health care is highly regulated by both state and federal agencies,” said Brian Terrett, a spokesman. “Legacy Health is regularly contacted by state and federal agencies for documents, and we completely comply with those requests.”
Authorities requested that Legacy not share information about the investigation, Terrett said.
FBI officials will say little about its investigations.

Read the full story: FBI investigating body donation program in 3 states.

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