An Arizona man is suing a body-donation company after the Army blew up his mother's corpse


A photo of Doris Stauffer, whose body was donated

(Reuters/Ricardo Arduengo)

A man is suing a U.S. body-donation company for giving his mother's body to the military for blast testing when he believed it would be used for medical research.

Jim Stauffer said he donated the body of his mother, Doris Stauffer, to the for-profit Biological Resource Center after she died in hospice care in 2013, hoping that it could conduct research into Alzheimer's, a disease she had.

Stauffer said he learned after a 2016 Reuters investigation that her body had been used for a U.S. Army research project looking at bomb impact.

Stauffer has now joined 32 other plaintiffs suing the center, accusing it of deceiving them about what happened to their family members' bodies. The case is set to go to trial on October 21, CNN reported.

The lawsuit says the bodies "were literally used as crash test dummies, which meant they were used in experiments involving exposures to destructive forces, e.g. impacts, crashes, ballistic injuries and blasts."

A 2014 FBI raid on the Biological Resource Center's facility in Phoenix uncovered buckets of human body parts as well as a human head sewn onto a different body.

The new details emerged in July through eyewitness testimony as part of the lawsuit. The center closed in 2014 after the raid.

im Stauffer with a photo of his mother, Doris Stauffer, whose body he donated, in December 2016(Reuters/Ricardo Arduengo)

The Army experiments were meant to help protect U.S. troops in places like Iraq and Afghanistan from roadside bombs, Reuters reported.

Stauffer told the Arizona-based ABC 15 in July that his mother's body was "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."

Stauffer told ABC 15 that he had specifically told the center that her body could not be used for military tests, something he also told Reuters in 2016.

According to Reuters, the center's donor consent form asked whether the body could be used on "non-medical projects that could involve exposure to destructive forces e.g. impacts, crashes, ballistic injuries, and blasts."

Stauffer said he ticked "no" on the form.

The Reuters investigation in 2016 said the center cremated one of Doris Stauffer's hands and then sent those ashes to her son. It then sold the rest of her body to a taxpayer-funded U.S. Army research project.

The center sold bodies for $5,893, Reuters reported.

Army officials told Reuters in 2016 that they had not seen the consent forms and had trusted the Biological Resource Center's word, adding that Army policy was to not use bodies if the family had not consented for them to be used for military use.

FBI agents in hazmat suits raid the Biological Research Center in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2014(KPHO-TV via Business Insiderr)

Randy Coates, a civilian engineer who directed the Army's project, told Reuters that bodies in the experiments were not destroyed but that bones were broken. The Army considered using mannequins but could not test the impact of explosions under a vehicle while using them, according to Reuters.

Stauffer told ABC 15 that he donated his mother's body to the center only because her neurologist was unable to take the body.

She had Alzheimer's despite not having the gene that is most associated with the disease, and doctors thought that studying her brain could give them more information about whether the disease had mutated, ABC 15 reported.

"I feel foolish," Stauffer said. "Because I'm not a trusting person, but in this situation you have no idea this is going on — you trust. I think that trust is what they fed on."

"I don't see a pathway of ever getting past this," he said. "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."

Stephen Gore, the owner of the Biological Research Center, pleaded guilty in 2015 to operating an illegal enterprise. He was sentenced to one year deferred prison time and four years of probation.

Gore told Reuters in 2016 that he tried to honor donors' wishes and sent consent forms to researchers when asked.

"It is my belief that we did what we could to honor the donors' consent as we understood it," he told a judge. Gore noted that the for-profit body-donation industry had "no formal regulations to look to for guidance."

"I believe that many times I was simply overwhelmed and I tried to do the right thing but often did not," he said.

Read more from Business Insider:

CAMP PENDLETON — The military prosecution of a Coast Guardsman accused of murder began Wednesday with a preliminary hearing at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Seaman Ethan W. Tucker, 21, was arrested August 28 after a seven-month Coast Guard investigation into the January death of Seaman Ethan Kelch, 19, who served on the same ship as Tucker— the Kodiak, Alaska-based high endurance cutter Douglas Munro.

Read More Show Less

ANKARA (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday Turkey would press on with its offensive into northeastern Syria and "crush the heads of terrorists" if a deal with Washington on the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from the area were not fully implemented.

Erdogan agreed on Thursday in talks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence a five-day pause in the offensive to allow time for the Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a "safe zone" Turkey aims to establish in northeast Syria near the Turkish border.

Read More Show Less

President Trump stoked confusion Friday by declaring the U.S. has "secured the Oil" in the Middle East amid continued fallout from the Turkish invasion of northern Syria that he enabled by pulling American troops out of the region.

It wasn't immediately clear what the president was talking about, as there were no publicly known developments in Syria or elsewhere in the Middle East relating to oil. White House aides did not return requests for comment.

Read More Show Less

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. State Department investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state has found no evidence of deliberate mishandling of classified information by department employees.

The investigation, the results of which were released on Friday by Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley's office, centered on whether Clinton, who served as the top U.S. diplomat from 2009 to 2013, jeopardized classified information by using a private email server rather than a government one.

Read More Show Less

BYESVILLE — A Meadowbrook High School student removed from class last Friday for being intoxicated is now facing a felony charge after allegedly threatening to shoot people if the previous incident harmed his chances to join a branch of the United States military.

Gabriel D. Blackledge, 18, of Cambridge, is facing one count of making terrorist threats, a third-degree felony, filed by the Guernsey County Sheriff's Office on Thursday. Blackledge remained incarcerated in the county jail on a $250,000 bond with no 10 percent allowed, according to the sheriff's office's website.

Read More Show Less