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Bodies donated for medical research have been sold to the US Army and blown up to measure the effect of explosives.
The bodies were sold for thousands of dollars each by a now dissolved company Biological Resource Center (BRC).
They were used by the US Army to find ways to protect soldiers from the impact of improvised explosive devices, more commonly referred to as "IEDs".
A special investigation by Reuters brought to light the figure of $5,893 (USD) was paid for each body, roughly £4,800 GBP.
Families who donated the bodies of their loved ones to BRC were not made aware of the sale to the US Army.
Jim Stauffer's mother Doris was one of the deceased whose bodies were sold on to the military.
She had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
Stauffer told Reuters he had specifically ticked a box on his release form that prohibited the use of her body in military and non medical research.
Army officials involved in the purchasing of bodies claimed that they were not shown the release forms.
BRC sold over 20,000 body parts from 5000 persons over a decade.
The company no longer exists.
This is in contrast to the heavy regulation of body parts used in transplant operations.
New York, the only state that keeps records of these transactions, showed that over 100,000 body parts were shipped across America between 2011-2014.
Following an investigation into the work of a body parts broker, Arthur Rathburn, the FBI traced a number of parts back to BRC.
Rathburn's lawyer Byron Pitts has argued that Rathburn should not be held accountable for BRC paperwork oversights.
Families who spoke to Reuters expressed their dismay, and explained that one of the reasons they donated was due the high cost of funerals.
Cremation and the return of ashes is often free when a human body is donated to science.
In further investigations it was found BRC had also sold diseased and infected body parts to some medical schools, without informing them of the danger.
BRC purports that this was because BRC were themselves unaware of the body parts' conditions.
Stephen Gore, a former CEO of BRC pleaded guilty to fraud in 2015, and claimed he sent consent forms regulating the use of donated body parts whenever they were requested.
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