Beloved mother becomes Armys science experiment

In 2013, Jim Stoffer’s mother finally passed away from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 74. Her doctors told Jim that her disease had mutated in a way they had not seen before and they asked if he’d be willing to donate her body so they could study her brain. Jim felt like his mother would want him to say yes, and so he agreed. But for a variety of administrative reasons, the neurologists couldn’t actually accept Jim’s mother’s body at that point. Jim was really bought into the idea that his mother’s brain was going to help other patients, and so while he couldn’t donate her body to these neurologists, he could donate her body to the Biological Resource Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

This center would take dead bodies and then extract parts of them for scientific research and then would cremate the rest of them and return the ashes to the family. Jim gave his mother’s body to the center, and when he filled out the paperwork, he indicated that her brain should be extracted for Alzheimer’s research. After filling out the paperwork, Jim left, and 10 days later he received a wooden box in the mail that contained his mother’s ashes. There was no note attached to the box explaining exactly what was done to his mother’s body, but Jim assumed they did what he asked.

A year later, that Biological Resource Center was raided by the FBI after accusations they were selling these donated bodies for profit. During the FBI’s investigation, they uncovered that yes, the center had been doing that and had sold at least 20 bodies to the US Army for various experiments. And one of the bodies that was sold was Jim’s mother. She was sold for $5,893. The FBI told Jim she had not been used for Alzheimer’s research. Instead, she had been strapped to a device that resembled a chair, and then had a bomb detonated underneath her. The Army was trying to understand the effects on the human body when a vehicle is hit by an IED. The ashes Jim received in that wooden box he got in the mail were only from his mother’s hand. The rest of her body was unrecoverable.

Also, during this FBI investigation, they found inside the center there was a man’s body on the wall with a female head sewed onto it. It appeared to be a trophy. Jim, along with 19 other families, sued the center, and finally in 2019, they were awarded $58 million in damages. The center no longer is in operation.

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