Arizona man learns his mom’s body was sold to the military for Army ‘blast testing’
NEW YORK (Tribune News Service) — An Arizona man recently learned that his mom’s body was sold to the military for “blast testing” after he donated it in hopes that it could be used for science.
Doris Stauffer was 73 years old when she died in hospice care more than five years ago.
She had suffered from Alzheimer’s during the last years of her life, but doctors said she didn’t carry the gene for it. They worried the disease may have mutated and hoped to study her brain to find out more after she died.
When Stauffer died, her neurologist couldn’t accept the body, so her son Jim Stauffer reached out to other donation facilities hoping they could use her body for research.
“I feel foolish,” Jim Stauffer told local ABC affiliate KNXV. “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.”
The Biological Resource Center in Phoenix picked up Doris Stauffer’s body within 45 minutes of her death and her son signed paperwork that specified what could and could not be done with the body.
That center, the same one that recently made headlines for being a “human chop shop,” was raided by the FBI in 2014. Horrifying details about the discoveries made at the center came to light recently after an agent described what they saw as part of a civil lawsuit against the business’ owner, Stephen Gore.
Former FBI special agent Mark Cwynar described seeing a “cooler filled with male genitalia” and a “large torso with the head removed and replaced with a smaller head sewn together in a ‘Frankenstein manner.'”
A few days after Stauffer signed the papers, he received a wooden box with what he was told were the majority of his mother’s ashes.
He didn’t learn the truth until a Reuters reporter contacted him a couple years ago with documents showing what really happened to his mother’s body. It was one of many sold to the U.S. Army for blast testing.
“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,” Stauffer told KNXV.
Stauffer said he specifically marked “no” on a box that would have authorized medical tests involving explosions to be performed.
Several years have passed since he learned the fate of his mother’s body, but he still struggles with the thought of it daily.
“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.”
Stauffer is part of a lawsuit against the Biological Resource Center and its owner Gore and hopes to at least be a “small part of his personal financial destruction.” Gore pleaded guilty to running an illegal enterprise in 2015, but was only sentenced to serve probation.
“He didn’t care about the families, he didn’t care about the people and he didn’t care about the memories,” Stauffer said.