“Army Tied My Mum’s Body To Chair And Blew It Up”: Body Donated for Alzheimer’s Research Used For Blast Testing

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.

2017 report exposed abuses in the “body broker” industry. The FBI raided the center’s facilities in 2014 and found buckets of body parts in what has been called as a “Frankenstein manner.”

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.”

14 thoughts on ““Army Tied My Mum’s Body To Chair And Blew It Up”: Body Donated for Alzheimer’s Research Used For Blast Testing”

  1. There are several red flags in this story and none of them support sympathy for the son

    According to the linked article,

    “Seventy-three-year-old Doris Stauffer suffered from Alzheimer’s disease during the last years of her life”

    She had Late-Onset Alzheimer Disease (LOAD). Early-Onset Alzheimer Disease (EOAD) is strongly associated with inheritable genetics. LOAD however is much more complex, less penetrant genetic factors likely interacting with environmental and epigentic influences, ApoE gene in LOAD is a susceptibility gene not a determinant gene. Just because it is genetic does not mean it is inheritable nor determinant

    “but doctors says she didn’t have the gene for it. Doctors worried the disease may have mutated, and hoped to study her brain after her passing to find out more.”

    this statement makes no sense whatsoever. The reporter probably botched this information to placate their employer along the lines of “if it bleeds it leads”. LOAD is not a genetic disease where “it may have mutated”. considering the audience of the article, the publisher thought it was OK to run with it.

    “When the time came though, her neurologist couldn’t accept the body.”

    why? Possibly because there was too much pathology due to other medical issues, fairly common in cadaver donation. Americans are really unhealthy specimens and it takes a healthy dead body with one specific pathology to make it worth studying. We just can’t accept every dead body thrown our way to do “research”. Additionally the research physicians may not have wanted the body because her disease is poorly understood. Thus the son did something very peculiar:

    “Her son hoped reaching out to other donation facilities could lead to the same result.”

    Why? If the treating physicians did research in AD and they did not want the body, that should have been sufficient for the son to realize his mother’s presentation was beyond the competency of modern medical investigations today. Yet, he persisted. Why?

    “I feel foolish,” said Jim Stauffer. “Because I’m not a trusting person, but in this situation you have no idea this is going on — you trust. I think that trust is what they fed on.”

    Amygdala at play here. This harkens to Eric Garner being “killed by a banned chokehold” only to have his story milked by Al Sharpton to make the family and Sharpton lawsuit monies from NYC. This guy is selling his story years after his mother’s death. Why would anyone do that to their mother after she has died? red falgs

    Something is not right about Jim Stauffer’s story. Most people would be hawkish about donating a parent’s body and make sure that organization is accomplished, reputable or known for doing cutting edge work. Since no center like that exists on LOAD, he basically through mama’s body off of the train.

    As for blowing up bodies by the military….pretty crazy but that’s the US Government for us.
    Maybe Hillary can donate her body….but then that would result in quarantining the region for a few centuries. California would be perfect

    1. Estovir:

      That will teach me to read the linked article.

      “doctors says she didn’t have the gene for it. Doctors worried the disease may have mutated.” What mutated? Alzheimers is not a bacteria or virus. There are mutations in 3 genes that cause early onset Alzheimers, as you stated, but the son said she didn’t have “the gene for it.” So what does he think mutated? They don’t know the causes of late onset Alzheimers, only that it’s a combination of genetics and environment. They can’t tell anyone what to do or what to avoid.

      My grandmother passed away from Alzheimers. It’s a torturous disease. The sufferer slowly loses their mind, aware of the process for quite some time, until they wake up lost. Eventually, they forget how to eat and how to swallow liquids. By that point, years into the process, the fear seems to have ended. It’s a terrible thing to watch, and must be horrific to experience.

      I feel sorry for the son for losing his mother in this way. However, when the first doctor would not accept his mother’s body, and he kept looking, it made me wonder if he did not have the money for burial or cremation.

      1. They don’t know the causes of late onset Alzheimers, only that it’s a combination of genetics and environment. They can’t tell anyone what to do or what to avoid.

        Like cancer, AD is a scary pathology. Americans wisely respect it but many have unfounded fears. People who had a parent or grandparent with Late Onset AD often believe they may have “inherited” the disease even if no data support such thinking. Colon cancer is another pathology that people often think they inherited Colon Rectal Cancer from a parent or relative since these may or may not have had it. Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) account for 2% to 4% of all colorectal cancers, and manifests at a young age just like Early Onset Alzheimers Disease.

        Less than 20% of pathologies, particularly cancers, are inherited. Spontaneous, random, non-inheritable genetic mutations account for > 80% of genetic medical maladies. People blame their parents genes for issues for which in reality are their own fault

        Chronic medical illnesses are due to lifestyle choices (obesity accounts for 30% of cancers) & poor nutritional habits. Excess adiposity (obesity) and excess body weight are associated with increased incidence of several of the most important diseases of humans, including type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemias, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and cancer.

        For people who insist their obesity is their choice, in actuality it costs commercial Third Party Payers and Medicare and Medicaid billions of dollars. Over 90% of health care expenditures (18% of GDP) are due to chronic medical illnesses. Obesity is not a personal choice but a national burden

        https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/about/costs/index.htm

  2. Why the complaint? This was just unfettered capitalism at its finest. Even your corpse is just a commodity to be bought and sold, and something on which someone can turn a profit. And rules for commerce, if they exist at all, are for some other schmuck to follow.

  3. While BRC is entirely at fault and should be sued, there is a medical reason for explosive testing with cadavers.

    Brain injuries from concussive force is common in military personnel, even outside the blast radius. It’s not only shrapnel, but the shockwave, that caused damage. They used to think if you were still in one piece, you were okay. Brain injuries have started to show up. They need to understand what happens, and how far the blast carries. And they need to do this with deceased humans.

    That said, this must have been very traumatic for her son. I wonder how this was discovered. When you donate a body to medical research, you don’t get it back (that I know of). I am only aware of communal cremation.

    1. Military-related traumatic brain injury and neurodegeneration

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4255273/

      “Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) includes concussion, subconcussion, and most exposures to explosive blast from improvised explosive devices. mTBI is the most common traumatic brain injury affecting military personnel; however, it is the most difficult to diagnose and the least well understood. It is also recognized that some mTBIs have persistent, and sometimes progressive, long-term debilitating effects. Increasing evidence suggests that a single traumatic brain injury can produce long-term gray and white matter atrophy, precipitate or accelerate age-related neurodegeneration, and increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and motor neuron disease. In addition, repetitive mTBIs can provoke the development of a tauopathy, chronic traumatic encephalopathy.”

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5562167/

      Brain injuries can be invisible during initial medical evaluations and are often caused by military explosives that create blast shockwaves of varying intensity. One of the most common types of traumatic brain injury (TBI) linked to military service is blast-induced neurotrauma.

  4. My wager would be that the business of commercially trafficking in corpses is not one which attracts and retains people with satisfactory sensibilities. Or any sensibilities. I bet you the DoD researchers in questions are pretty sicko too.

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