PHOENIX, Ariz. (WCMH/CNN) – An Arizona man was shocked to learn that his mother’s body was sold to the U.S. military for “blast testing.”
Jim Stauffer’s family is one of many who gave the bodies of loved ones to the Biological Resource Center with the understanding their bodies would be used for scientific purposes. Years later, Stauffer found out that wasn’t what happened.
“It makes it hard to reminisce in a joyful way,” Stauffer told KXNV.
Stauffer says he almost wishes he didn’t know what happened.
He donated the body of his mother, Doris Stauffer, after she died from Alzheimer’s in 2013. He trusted BRC to get her brain to neurologists who could learn more about the disease.
“And I think that trust is what they fed on,” said Stauffer.
It was several years before he learned what actually happened.
“She was then supposedly strapped in a chair on some sort of apparatus, and a detonation took place underneath her to basically kind of get an idea of what the human body goes through when a vehicle is hit by an IED. Every time I dream about my mom, I told you she was a quiet person, this person in my dream was angry,” said Stauffer.
To this day, Stauffer displays memories of Doris in his home, including a small box filled with the only six ounces of her ashes that he got back.
“He stole a lot more than my mom’s body…every time there’s a memory, every time there’s a photograph you look at there’s this ugly thing that happened just right there staring right at you. She will never be forgotten here,” said Stauffer.
Stauffer is among those suing the BRC. Details from that lawsuit were reported last week. It details reports of heads, bodies and genitalia of different people sewn together and hung on a wall.
In 2014, the FBI raided the facility in hazmat suits as part of a multi-state investigation into the illegal trafficking and sale of human body parts.
The center’s owner, Stephen Gore, was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to running an illegal enterprise in 2015.