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Man Discovers Mom's Donated Body Was Sold To U.S. Military For 'Blast Testing'

It's difficult to say goodbye to a loved one when they pass on, but sometimes their departure is made a little easier with the knowledge that even in death, they can continue to help people.

For one Phoenix man, that meant donating the body of his late mother to science so that her brain might be studied to find out more about Alzheimer's disease.

Although she was gone, he could at least have the peace of mind knowing she would be helping to further research of this devastating disease. What he never expected, however, was that her donated body would be used for something else entirely.

Jim Stauffer says the body of his mom, Doris, was sold to the U.S. Army for "blast testing" without her family's consent.

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According to People, the same for-profit research center he originally donated her body to for medical research then turned around and sold her to the military so that she could be used as part of an explosives test.

Now, he's part of a massive lawsuit being filed against Biological Resource Center owner Stephen Gore who pleaded guilty to conducting an illegal enterprise in 2015 but was sentenced to serve probation.

Jim lost his mother, Doris, back in 2013 after she spent the final years of her life suffering from Alzheimer's.

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The 73-year-old was determined not to carry the gene for the disease, and doctors worried it may have mutated. They hoped to study her brain following her passing in order to learn more, but once the time came, her neurologist couldn't accept her body.

So, Jim sought out other donation facilities, hoping her brain could be used in some way to further Alzheimer's research. According to ABC15, a nurse suggested he contact the Biological Resource Center (BRC).

A form was signed by Jim, authorizing medical research on Doris' body.

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On the same form, Jim checked a box that prohibited his mother's body being used for traffic safety and non-medical experiments.

Ten days after donation, he received a wooden box with his mother's information, an ID number, and what he was told was a majority of her ashes, 6 ounces in total.

It wasn't until years later that Jim learned what his mother's body was actually used for.

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A reporter from Reuters conducting an investigation into the facility reached out to him, citing documents that showed a paper trail of where Doris' body ended up ⁠— the U.S. army, where it was purchased for about $5,900 and was used for blast testing.

“She was then supposedly strapped in a chair, on some sort of an apparatus, and a detonation took place underneath her to basically get an idea of what the human body goes through when a vehicle is hit by an IED," Jim said.

Jim is just one of more than 30 plaintiffs who are suing BRC owner Stephen Gore for his illegal practices.

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The lawsuit sees Jim as well as the other plaintiffs allege that their relatives' donated remains were obtained through "false statements" with the families believing their loved ones would be used for scientific research.

As part of the lawsuit, documents detailing the FBI's 2014 raid on the facility were released, revealing the graphic findings.

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Former Phoenix FBI special agent Mark Cwynar described seeing buckets full of body parts, as well as discovering a "cooler filled with male genitalia," and Frankenstein-like creations in which body parts belonging to various people had been sewn together.

A woman's head was discovered sewn onto the torso of a man in what the suit says appears to be some kind of "morbid joke." Some bodies found at the facility allegedly didn't have any identification tags.

Gore's highest completed education was high school and he has no expertise in the medical field.

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After pleading guilty in 2015, he was sentenced to one year of deferred jail time and four years probation.

The lawsuit is set to go to trial on October 21.

Speaking about Gore, Jim said he "didn't care about the families" of those bodies who were donated.

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"He didn't care about the families, he didn't care about the people and he didn't care about the memories," he said. "If I can be a little small part of his personal financial destruction, I don't care."

As for his mother, Jim said the news of her body's treatment has left a black mark on her life.

“Every time there’s a memory, every time there’s a photograph you look at, there’s this ugly thing that happened just right there, staring right at you,” he said. “She will never be forgotten here.”

h/t: People, ABC15

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