Sat, Apr 03, 2010 - Page 7 News List

Human heads and torsos discovered in medical waste

SHOCKINGFamilies with deceased relatives were dismayed to find that the ashes they received for ceremonial purposes were likely not their relatives’

AP , ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO

The first discovery was gruesome enough: a head and torso tucked inside a red biohazard tub that arrived at a Kansas company. Then it got worse.

Six more heads and torsos showed up in the next week after someone apparently dismembered the bodies with a chain saw or another cutting device, police said.

Authorities are investigating a New Mexico company that was supposed to have donated the organs in the bodies to science and had the remains cremated. The owner of the Albuquerque company, Paul Montano, was arrested on Thursday.

One man whose father’s head and torso showed up in Kansas in the shipment said the family received ashes of what they thought was their 83-year-old dad after he died of a stroke.

Now they are in shock at the thought that the ashes they scattered in a heartfelt remembrance last year may not have been their father — or at least not all of him.

“To not give you everything and to have the head shipped some place else, it’s really disturbing,” Chuck Hines said.

The owner of Bio Care Southwest denied dismembering any bodies.

Montano told police his father picks up and delivers bodies to Bio Care. The investigation is ongoing; his alleged motive was not immediately known.

Bio Care receives donated bodies and harvests organs and other parts that it sells for medical research. The researchers return the organs to Bio Care once their experiments are complete, then Bio Care sends the remains for cremation and gives the ashes to the families, investigators said.

Bio Care’s Web site said its mission was to advance medicine through donated non-transplantable human tissue, allowing scientists to study a donor’s organs to better understand disease.

“At Bio Care, you will always be treated with dignity, respect and honesty,” its home page says.

The company has a contract with Stericycle, based in Kansas City, Kansas, to dispose of any leftover medical waste.

Stericycle told investigators it receives medical waste, soft tissue and organs and occasional limbs — but never heads and torsos.

Homicide detectives in Kansas City began investigating the grim body part discoveries, and they were eventually traced back to New Mexico.

Court documents identified three of the bodies as Jacquelyn Snyder, Charles Hines and Harold Dillard.

Snyder, 42, died Nov. 1 in Albuquerque of a methadone overdose, and Hines died last September of a stroke, according to officials and family members.

Dillard was from Albuquerque, but the cause of his death was not immediately known.

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