We have previously discussed cases involving abuses of corpses, particularly bodies donated for science or organ donation. Now there is a highly disturbing case out of Arizona where Jim Stauffer donated his mother’s body for Alzheimer’s research only to find out later that the body of Doris Stauffer was used for military testing and blown up
Jim Stauffer agreed to allow doctors to study his mother’s brain but expressly refused experiments involving explosions. When his mother died, a neurologist rejected the body and he sought out other biological donation facilities working on Alzheimer’s treatments. He ended up with the notorious (and now defunct) Biological Resource Center (BRC). The Phoenix-based organ-donor facility gave him paperwork that expressly asked for confirmation for medical testing involving explosions, to which he said no.
BRC then reportedly gave the body to a military contractor which strapped Doris Stauffer’s body into a chair and blew her up as part of research on blast impacts.
He is now suing BRC and its owner Stephen Gore.
Notably, while Arizona has a criminal provision on abusing corpses, this does not fit the specific criminal acts:
§32-1364 Crimes against the dead; classification
A. It is unlawful for a person, without the authority of law or as normally required to store, prepare, disinfect or embalm a dead human body according to standards of practice in the funeral industry, to mutilate a dead human body.
B. It is unlawful for a person, without the authority of law, to disinter or remove a dead human body or any part of a dead human body from its sepulcher, grave or other interment site, or from the place where the body is awaiting disposition, with malice or wantonness or with the intent to sell or dissect the body.
C. It is unlawful for a person, without the authority of law, to obtain or convert property that is located with or affixed to a dead human body or any part of a dead human body with the intent to deprive the decedent or the decedent’s estate of the property.
D. It is unlawful for a person to engage in necrophilia. A person engages in necrophilia by:
1. Having sexual intercourse with a dead human body.
2. Having sexual contact with a dead human body, other than the contact normally required to store, prepare, disinfect or embalm a dead human body according to standards of practice in the funeral industry.
E. For the purposes of subsection D:
1. “Sexual contact” means any direct or indirect touching, including oral contact, fondling or manipulating of any part of the genitals, anus or female breast by any part of the body or by any object.
2. “Sexual intercourse” means penetration into the vulva or anus by any part of the body or by any object or masturbatory contact with the penis or vulva.
F. A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 4 felony.
States like Florida have a more detailed law, though there is an exception for medical research (assuming this could be called medical research and not barred under the agreement): “A person who mutilates, commits sexual abuse upon, or otherwise grossly abuses a dead human body commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Any act done for a bona fide medical purpose or for any other lawful purpose does not under any circumstance constitute a violation of this section.”