Families sue body donation company after loved ones remains not used for science

HILLSBORO, OR (KGW) A woman in Oregon donated her mother’s body to science after she passed away, but is now suing the company after discovering her mother’s body was not used for what she was told.

Angelina Merrill, of Hillsboro, said she and her mother had decided to work with Biological Resource Center located in Phoenix, Arizona to donate her mother’s body to research a cure for cancer. Merrill was told they just take a small piece of tissue and send it off to a lab.

She said the company took her mother’s body, then weeks later sent back her ashes. But then in January of 2014, the FBI raided the facility. Investigators found her mother’s body inside, separated into pieces.

She along with multiple families across the U.S. are suing the company in a civil lawsuit, saying it sold body parts for profit and misrepresented how those body parts were going to be used.

Brian Kabateck, the attorney representing Merrill and other families said in general, body parts can be used for everything from medical research to military explosive testing, or canine training.

He said the problem is not necessarily the use, but the fact that families have no idea how their loved ones’ bodies are being handled.

“Let’s be honest, how many families would actually donate their loved ones body if they knew it was going to be used for canine training,” said Kabateck.

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