special report - a business where human bodies were butchered, packaged and sold
Warning: This story contains graphic content. )
Red Levin and Brian growth Phoenix (Reuters)-
Sam Kazimi stood in front of the old man\'s body.
Nearby laying pliers, surgical knives and electric saws dedicated to cutting drywalls and pipes.
On a busy day, Kazemi may harvest body parts from five to six people who donated their bodies to science.
On the day of November 2013, the body before Kazemi represented the donor who handed the body to his employer\'s biological resources center.
The man is a retired factory worker and ninth. Grade education.
He lives with his wife in a mobile house in the Valley of moharvey, Arizona, six days ago, at the age of 75.
His name is Conrad Patrick.
But after his death, his body was donated and Patrick became a commodity with the company\'s initials and numbers brc131123.
Reuters has reviewed thousands of internal BRC records and confidential law enforcement documents containing files from Patrick and 2,280 other donors.
These documents include invoices and inventory of thousands of body parts harvested from these people.
They show how their bodies are dissect, where the body parts are delivered, and why buyers get them.
Kazemi helped cut Patrick into seven pieces.
BRC shipped Patrick\'s left foot to Chicago.
His left shoulder was sent to a company in Las Vegas, which held a surgical seminar.
His head and spine were part of a program in the United States. S. Army.
Patrick\'s \"external reproductive organs\" were sent to a local university.
His right foot and left knee were placed in the company\'s freezer to become part of the BRC millionaire
Dollar stock of meat and bones.
For more than a year, Reuters has checked the body trade in the United States,
It is well known that almost unregulated industries.
These enterprises that call themselves \"non\"
The transplant organization bank is also known as a body broker.
Operation can be like meatpacking plants.
In BRC, the body parts from head to nail are harvested and sold.
On Saturday morning, Kazemi taught college students how to physically dismember their bodies in the company lab.
He also starred in a terrible training video showing how to carve a man\'s spine using an electric saw.
The documents obtained by Reuters-and dozens of interviews with investigators, former BRC staff and donor families-provide an unparalleled perspective on the operation of one of the major body brokers in the United States
The records have never been made public and have also revealed how little the government or donors themselves know about what\'s going on with the company, and illustrated in graphic detail how the body became a commodity.
Sales invoices document many of these transactions in detail.
BRC sold the liver of the public school doorman to a doctor for $607device company.
A Swiss Institute bought the body of a retired bank manager for $3,191.
A large health care system in the Midwest spent $65 on two femoral arteries, one from a church priest.
A union activist\'s calf was purchased by a Minnesota product.
The development company sells for $350 each.
For raw materials, the industry relies heavily on the poor, who can\'t afford a funeral and cremate a portion of each donated body for free.
Reuters analysis of the BRC donor file from May 3-20, 2011 to January 20 confirmed the importance of vulnerable groups to business.
The vast majority of BRC donors come from communities whose median household income is lower than the state average.
Four of the five donors did not graduate from college, about twice as many as the country as a whole.
Before the broker accepts the body, they usually present the consent form to the donor or close relative.
Many donors and relatives say that these agreements are usually written in technical language and they are difficult to understand.
These documents give brokers the right to dismember the deceased and then sell or rent body parts to medical researchers and educators, which typically costs hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Records show that in BRC, the price of a whole body is $5,893.
Since 2004, when a federal health team failed to call on the United StatesS.
Reuters found that more than 2,357 body parts obtained by brokers of at least 1,638 people were eventually misused, abused or violated.
The documents reviewed for this article indicate that these figures are greatly underestimated.
The scope of the BRC operation even surprised investigators who raided Phoenix --
A company established in 2014.
There, the agents found 10 tons of frozen human remains-1,755 body parts including 281 heads, 241 shoulders, 337 legs and 97 thorns.
The authorities applied the law of the state to remove the contents of the BRC freezer and fill it with 142 body bags.
There are at least 36 different people in one bag.
The seizure was so large that it was difficult for officials to properly handle the body parts.
When the plan for cremation remains stalled, officials took three walks.
In a freezer at a military base, put the body bag inside and one on the other.
Before cremation, parts of 851 different people were kept in the fridge for nearly three years.
The raid on BRC is part of a broader federal investigation into the alleged conduct of one of its clients, Arthur rasbourne.
Detroit\'s brokerage company Rathburn pleaded not guilty to cheating customers.
In 2013 searches of Rathburn\'s warehouse, federal agents found rotten body parts and four well-preserved foetuses, according to confidential photos reviewed by Reuters.
It is not clear how Rathburn obtained the fetus, nor how he intended to deal with the fetus.
He was accused of selling sick body parts without warning buyers.
His trial is scheduled for January.
The company closed down after the BRC raid.
Its founder and former owner Stephen Gore later admitted fraud-not because of the sale of body parts, but because of misleading customers by transporting contaminated samples.
His punishment: probation.
He is expected to testify in the Rathburn case.
Gore\'s lawyer, Clark Derek, says Gore is always trying to act for the best interests of his donors.
\"At some point, the business is growing exponentially, we have a shortage of people, we cut corners, and I apologize and apologize for that,\" Derek said on behalf of Gore . \".
Gore put his business at 9,000. square-
A building once occupied by insurance companies.
Story facilities near two interstates and Phoenix airport.
Court records show that from 2005 to the beginning of 2014, BRC received about 5,000 human bodies and distributed more than 20,000 body parts.
As Reuters reported last year, BRC also sold body parts to the United States. S.
Army contractors for military experiments
A Pentagon spokesman said that BRC provided the body parts with a \"false excuse\" and misled the army that it had been agreed that donors had been used for destructive testing.
Parts sold to the Army experiment by BRC include the heads and thorns of 71-year-old Conrad Patrick and Leon Smoreyear-
Retired old man who once managed a furniture factory.
The record shows that on the consent signed by Patrick and Small, everyone ticked a box stating that he did not wish to be used for military or destructive testing.
But just days after the death of Patrick and Small, a BRC employee called their widow and persuaded them to modify the form so that their husband could be used by the military, according to the call records reviewed by Reuters.
The widows said the calls were made during a painful period.
\"I don\'t understand what they\'re talking about,\" said Dona Patrick . \".
\"But I said, \'Okay.
Reuters found that the bodies or parts of at least 20 BRC donors were used for military experiments without their consent.
However, there are no parts from Small and Patrick.
The test was stopped when the military learned about the attack on BRC.
The shoulders of both men were delivered.
Profit surgery training company in Nevada.
Widow Karen Smore and Donna Patrick, one of 24 close relatives, said they were surprised to learn that BRC had profited from the bodies donated by relatives.
\"Their prey is people who have no money, are poor, have no insurance-just like us,\" Patrick said . \".
Family members of some donors say BRC employees convince them that the donated remains are regulated by federal and state authorities and that it is illegal to sell them.
According to these statements, relatives said they did not think the remains would be sold.
In fact, there are few regulations on body trade.
\"It\'s a terrible thing,\" says Small . \". “Sick.
In a statement to Reuters last year, Gore said his staff were very careful to ensure the health of donors and their families.
Understand the process.
Gore admitted in his judgment that he relied on books and the Internet to guide how to deal with the bodies he sold.
In 2012, BRC hired Kazemi, a laboratory technician.
He earns $21 an hour.
Prior to joining the company, his resume shows that he has served as a real estate agent, a waiter at Morton\'s steakhouse and a manager at Olive Garden restaurant for the past decade.
By the time he arrived at BRC, he was 35 years old and had just graduated from Arizona State University with an ergonomic degree in human sports research.
At ASUS, he is a teaching assistant in an anatomy lab.
Kazemi starred in the BRC teaching video in 2013.
It begins with an discordant title and emphasizes from time to time: \"The Stripped Cervical spine!
\"The video starts with close shooting.
Kazimi with a mask, gloves, goggles and operating gown.
Then it pulls back to reveal a body face on the table.
The man\'s shoulder and arm have been cut off.
The head is tilted from one side to the other until Kazemi remains stationary.
He cuts his neck and back with a scalpel, then peeling off the man\'s skin and scalp.
About seven minutes after the video aired, Kazemi picked up a building saw.
When he spoke about the body, he said: \"On this body, we are using a solid, thicker 9-inch blade.
You want to make sure the blade is long enough to go through the back from the ear to the ear.
In an interview with Reuters, Kazemi said the video was a clinical video, \"Without any disrespect for donors \".
It is for internal use only, he said.
Kazemi also said he did not know how BRC got the donor or where the body parts were shipped from.
In hindsight, Kazemi said it was wrong to use an electric saw because it could not be cleaned well to avoid the spread of the disease.
\"Now that I know, will I do something like this?
No, \"said Kazemi.
\"But that was what was provided to me at that time.
Two retired investigators from Arizona\'s attorney general say even senior prosecutors are looking at 24-minute video.
\"It\'s like a homemade horror movie,\" said Charles Loftus, a former chief assistant agent.
\"I can\'t sleep at night after seeing this,\" said Matthew Parker, another former agent, who retired due to a disability.
Trauma Stress disorders related to his case work.
\"It looks like a dump chop shop and they just take things apart.
Kazemi also taught college students anatomy in BRC\'s lab on Saturday.
On a Saturday at the end of 2013, Asustek junior Emily Green said she appeared on the first day of the lab.
Her major is nutrition.
\"I was really surprised when I got an internship because I didn\'t have any experience,\" says Green, 20 . \".
\"I went on the first day and learned something at work.
Green recalled that on the first day, under the guidance of Kazemi, interns removed their nails from donors with pliers.
\"I don\'t want to say it\'s barbaric, but it\'s weird,\" she said . \".
\"One day, I found myself holding 70-year-
I feel like I need to apologize to her and say \"sorry \".
Neither green nor Kazimi knew how the nails were used, they said, and Reuters could not find an invoice for the order.
But the news agency did find the nails of 22 other donors sold by BRC.
They went to SciKon Innovation, a bioengineering research firm in North Carolina.
Randy McClellan, CEO of SciKon, said he did not know that BRC had been raided by the FBI.
He said his business helped the company to study how products entered the blood through nails.
\"It\'s like a new cosmetic on your skin,\" he said . \".
On another Saturday, Kazemi gathered interns around the body of another elderly woman, Green said.
\"He said, \'Emily, you \'ve never cut your head before, and everyone else has. do you want to try it?
\"I think, \'Okay.
Green said Kazemi held her hand firmly while she was holding a forward saw.
\"This is not a complete
As you can see in horror movies, on the chainsaw, but it\'s a smaller version, \"says Green.
\"Then I went.
I thought there would be a lot of blood, but not a lot.
She said of the woman\'s head.
Kazemi said he did not remember helping an intern cut off the head or any other body part.
He said Saturday\'s classes were more like lectures he gave to interns showing various organs and other body parts.
In her graduation thesis, Green described her time at BRC in different ways.
\"During my internship, I stripped subcutaneous fat from the cervical spine and practiced a cricketing thyroid resection (
Incision of throat)
Green wrote in her paper: \"sew disjointed legs with oversized needles and hemp ropes, beheading an old man with something that looks and sounds like a Home Depot chainsaw
\"I have never received formal training or guidance.
\"BRC customers don\'t always get body parts directly from their brokers for their own medical education, research or training programs.
According to the invoice, some customers are the middlemen who originally donated the body parts to BRC for resale or lease.
The consent gives BRC the discretion to choose a customer, but the form does not state that the body part can be resold by a third party.
At 2012 and 2013, BRC sold at least 961 body parts to three such middlemen, including at least 224 heads.
One is the innovative Institute LLC in Chicago
Regional Medical Laboratory providers for human body parts are also provided.
Innovative is one of BRC\'s best clients.
It received at least 32 shipments, 277 body parts.
Noved executives did not respond to requests for comment.
The other is rasbourne, Detroit.
Regional brokers facing trial next month
He received at least 26 avatars from BRC.
Rathburn\'s lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.
The third middleman is another Illinois Biological Resource Center in Chicago. area broker.
More famous is BRC.
IL, it received at least 658 body parts from BRC. BRC-
IL runs independently of BRC.
But as part of a federal investigation into alleged fraud by donors and customers, FBI agents also conducted searches.
No one was charged with a crime in BRC.
IL is important that executives there did not respond to requests for comment.
One shoulder to the BRC-
IL is from the body of casino security guard Robert Luiz droso.
He died in a long struggle with diabetes at the age of 64.
His widow, Tama DeRosier, lives in a mobile family Park in the moharvey Valley, Arizona.
Her husband donated his body, she said, hoping it might help with diabetes research.
She didn\'t expect someone to make money selling his body.
\"This is too sick,\" said the widow . \"
\"Greed is a terrible thing.
Russell Parker, Jr. , who helped take care of his dead brother Todd, said he was surprised to learn from reporters that BRC had sold Todd\'s right knee and offered to sell Todd\'s head.
A friend recommended BRC, he said.
When the company returned the ashes of his brother, everything seemed to be \"constantly upgrading, very professional.
\"It\'s shameful for BRC to show such disrespect,\" Parker said . \".
\"This is wrong.
Like human trafficking.
One donor\'s companion cites another area of confusion: BRC uses the word \"organization.
\"On the pitch and consent form, the body broker usually talks about getting the organization back from the donor.
For the medical community, \"tissue\" means any part of the body-from the organ to the torso.
But in an interview with Reuters, family members of some donors said they thought \"tissue\" meant only skin samples.
Invoices show that although BRC does sell skin, these sales account for only 2% of its business.
Molin Kruger said her 42-year partner, Fidel Silva, told a female hospice worker in the last few days that he wanted to be cremated.
\"It was then that she proposed: \'Would you be interested in donating paper towels? \'?
Kruger said that, according to her understanding, she will remove some skin samples for research purposes.
In return, BRC will cremate Silva for free. Silva, a 69-year-
Senior High School-educated construction workers ask questions to hospice workers.
\"He asked, \'Well, are you sure?
What do they do? Said Kruger.
\"He wants to know.
When she assured him that it was only physical tissue, they took only samples and did not remove any organs, parts or anything.
Just paper towels.
This is when Fidel agreed.
The conversation took place at the Havasu hospice in Arizona.
Dan Mathews, its executive director, said he was unable to discuss the matter for patient reasonsprivacy laws.
But he said Hospice offers its clients the option to donate their bodies to science, and after hearing that the company is under investigation, \"take the company BRC from our supplier list
The internal BRC records show that the body broker removed Silva\'s head and left and right arms from the shoulder hand.
Each is labeled with a tracking number and ready for sale.
\"Wow,\" Kruger said.
\"I didn\'t really realize that they could do it all.
I mean, I don\'t understand at all that Fidel would.
\"After the raid by federal and state agents on BRC, the body seized by the authorities has been in an unstable state for nearly three years.
Their fate has never been made public, and these are detailed in confidential National logs, sworn statements and photos.
Former agents Parker and Lofters said logistical problems began on the day of the attack.
They said the authorities were shocked by the discovery of so many human flesh inside the BRC.
\"We expect two freezers and hundreds of pounds of body parts,\" Loftus said . \" He is running for state representation now.
\"Instead, we found 40 freezers with 10 tons of bodies and parts.
\"The agents went into hazmat gear and performed a biopsy from each body part to be preserved as evidence.
The record shows that the agent then puts 1,755 parts into 142 body bags.
The bags were delivered to 10 local funeral homes so that the remains could be cremated.
But records and interviews show that BRC and other people who store body parts are opposed to destroying them.
They think the parts are worth more than $1 million.
The cremation plan was put on hold, according to former agents Lofters and Parker, but the authorities soon faced an urgent problem.
The funeral home can be refrigerated, but the parts of the body cannot be frozen, and the funeral home begins to complain that some parts begin to thaw.
As a solution, the authorities received three
In the industrial freezer, a military base used by the Arizona National Guard is installed.
The funeral home then carried the parts in a bag, and Lofters and Parker helped bring them into the freezer.
In an interview, Parker recalled that when he moved his luggage, he felt the body was swaying in the bag.
Some bags leaked blood and stained his pants and shoes.
He said the experience led to a diagnosis of his post-traumatic stress disorder.
Parker testified in a testimony: \"This is not how you treat human beings, human remains . \"
\"You don\'t throw them into a pile of body bags and throw them into the fridge like a pile of garbage.
A spokesman for the Arizona attorney general\'s office said the body parts were retained by the federal authorities, \"as evidence of ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions across the country . \".
An FBI spokesman declined to comment.
The National spokeswoman said that in February, nearly three years after being placed in the container, the remains were cremated and sent back to the family requesting cremation.
In response to the Gore case, the governor of Arizona signed a bill requiring agency brokers like BRC to be licensed and regularly inspected.
The new law requires brokers to follow a set of standards and to hire a medical practitioner to oversee the practices of the company.
Although the law was passed a year and a half ago, it has not yet been implemented: the national health department still has to set specific rules for brokers.
It\'s not clear when.
A spokesman said health officials \"do not have an expected completion date yet.