September 19, 2016 — Lawyers for a pair of “body brokers” who ran a black-market business are trying to block evidence from a search of their Detroit-area warehouse.
For nearly seven years, Arthur Rathburn and his now-estranged wife Elizabeth ran International Biological Inc.
Last month, lawyers for the Rathburns filed a 156-page motion to suppress evidence obtained in a search of their warehouse on Grinnell Avenue, claiming prosecutors lacked probable cause.
In December 2013, federal agents searched the warehouse and found un-embalmed, diseased human heads stacked directly on top of each other without protective measures, along with a trove of incriminating documents. According to prosecutors:
“Bodies were bought, sold, and disposed of contrary to the will of donors. Infected remains were passed off as noninfectious. Lies were told to state and federal regulators.”
Arthur Rathburn is accused of dismembering the bodies with a chainsaw and/or band saw “without using sanitary precautions” while she took orders from customers, according to the criminal indictment.
Cadavers diseased with HIV and hepatitis were also sold to unsuspecting medical students, according to The Detroit News. In March, Elizabeth Rathburn admitted taking body parts contaminated with HIV and hepatitis B to an anesthesiologist conference and claiming they were disease-free.
Some of the bodies were provided by Stephen Gore, the owner of Anatomical Service Inc. or Biological Resource Center. In October 2015, he pled guilty to a felony charge of mishandling human remains. Prosecutors say he sold bodies without consent for profit rather than medical or scientific research.
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