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New York Funeral Directors Stealing Body Parts From Corpses

August 14, 2017

Body parts have been taken from corpses by at least seven New York funeral directors who admitted to removing them, without permission from relatives, for transplants. The parts were sold to biomedical companies. Permission is needed for body parts to be taken from a deceased person.

Body parts were stolen from Alastair Cooke, a veteran BBC broadcaster who died in 2004, he was 95.

According to Charles Hynes, District Attorney, more people are going to be charged as the investigation closes in on a criminal activity which involved millions of dollars and up to one thousand bodies. In a secret hearing, the seven funeral directors have agreed to cooperate with the courts.

The funeral directors altered death certificates so that it looked as if the organs were not diseased. Apparently, most of the organs did have diseases. Alastair Cooke died of lung cancer - which had spread to his bones - the altered death certificate indicated he had died of a heart attack.

In order to make the bodies look filled up, missing limb bones were replaced with plastic piping and the skin sewn back. In many cases the instruments used to cover up the disguised limbs were tossed into the bodies.

Mr Hynes said "These ghoulish thieves thought they could pull off the crime of the century, stealing bones from the dead, without any thoughts to their victims' families or the transplant recipients who would receive possibly tainted bone and tissue grafts."

Three people have been released on bail, they have pleaded 'not guilty'. A guilty verdict could send them to prison for 25 years.

"Expanded indictment in illegal tissue harvesting scheme
Criminal enterprise stretched across city and to Rochester"
King's County District Attorney's Office
Click here to see report online