News Cadaver dealer rented out infected heads, legs, necks

Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by kinneyjames, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. kinneyjames

    kinneyjames Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2014
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    Thinking of donating your body to science? You might want to think again.


    It was 2006 when Arthur Rathburn's name and morbid profession first surfaced in a book called "Body Brokers," which delved into the underground world of cadaver dealers and labeled him a shady mortician who sold and rented heads, necks and legs for a handsome profit.

    Ten years later, his world would close in on him.

    On Friday, after years of being watched by the FBI, Rathburn of Grosse Pointe Park was indicted on numerous charges in U.S. District Court in Detroit, accused of running a nationwide scheme that involved cutting up bodies without consent and renting heads, arms and legs riddled with disease to unsuspecting medical researchers.

    A dazed and homeless Rathburn sat in court on Friday, reading the 19-page indictment that accused him of heinous acts, like cutting up bodies with chainsaws, shipping blood-filled coolers of fresh heads on commercial airliners — falsely claiming the blood was Listerine — and storing more than 1,000 body parts on ice at his rundown warehouse in Detroit.


    Among the examples outlined in the indictment:
    • In 2011, the Rathburns rented a head and neck for $13,108 to be used in a course titled "Advances in Periodontology" at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Cambridge, Mass. The head and neck came from an individual who tested positive for Hepatitis B, though the Rathburns hid that.
    • In July 2011, another head and neck with Hepatitis B was rented for $7,360 to be used for "Advanced Bone Grafting" training provided by the California Implant Institute in San Diego.
    • In October 2012, remains infected with Hepatitis B and HIV were provided for a meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in Washington, D.C. The Rathburns collected $55,225 for those parts.
    • In February 2012, the Rathburns delivered a package of eight fresh human heads using a Delta cargo airplane to a customer. None of the heads were embalmed, even though Rathburn claimed they were. One of those heads came from someone who had sepsis and pneumonia.

    While it is not illegal to sell body parts or tissue, the FBI investigation has centered on three crimes:
    • Bodies being dismembered without the donors' consent and sold for profit, deceiving donors and their families who were promised they would not be sold — just used for medical research.
    • Bodies going to science without the clear consent of the donors.
    • Body donation centers selling body parts riddled with disease to unsuspecting medical researchers.
    The FBI notes in court documents that most body parts do get used for medical research and training. But the growing demand for body parts in the constantly evolving medical world has created a gray-black market in which body brokers are crossing both legal and ethical lines to meet this high demand.

    "While this trade is not, in and of itself, illegal ... ," an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit, "crimes have been committed."

    Detroit FBI Chief David P. Gelios said the indictment represents part of a broader investigation into what he called a "poorly regulated willed-body-to-science industry."

    “We recognize that thousands of donor families, medical doctors and affiliated personnel across the country have been adversely affected by these illegal acts," Gelios said. "This investigation does not stop here. We continue to work with our state and federal partners to conduct a full and rigorous investigation."

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  2. buried20kleague

    buried20kleague Well-Known Member VIP

    Apr 5, 2012
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    You rarely see cases involving cadavers garner extreme penalties. It's a weird spot for the law. Often there's clear abuse by the party... But it's not a live person, so what can you really do?

    My guess is big fines, community service, and maybe a LITTLE time. I'm more interested in how the guy is homeless. There's big money in death... And clearly he went the extra mile to exploit that.
    meanredhed likes this.