FBI agents watch as cardboard boxes believed to contain body parts are removed from a human tissue bank in Phoenix on Tuesday. (Source: CBS 5 News)
According to the website for Biological Resource Center, the building houses a human tissue bank where people can donate bodies and body parts. (Source: CBS 5 News)
(Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
A hazardous waste team dressed in protective suits carted away several boxes of body parts from a human tissue bank in Phoenix on Tuesday as part of an investigation by the FBI and the Arizona Attorney General's Office.
The FBI and AG's office set up a command post near 24th Street and University Drive earlier in the day and members of the hazardous waste response team were on the scene throughout Tuesday.
"The reason for the hazmat suits is just the nature of the business inside. It's a precautionary measure for our investigators," said Arizona Attorney General spokesperson Stephanie Grisham.
Just before 6 p.m. CBS 5 cameras captured exclusive video of two vans from Dignity Mortuary being loaded with four large cardboard boxes taken from Biological Resource Center.
Sources said inside those boxes contained human body parts.
According to the website for Biological Resource Center, the building houses a human tissue bank where people can donate bodies and body parts.
Stephen and Sally Gore are listed as the directors of the facility.
Tuesday night CBS 5 News stopped by their Scottsdale home. Several people could be heard laughing inside but no one came to the door.
Grisham said the investigation has been months in the making before a search warrant was served, but there was word on whether any arrests had been made and no further information as to what the investigation is about.
"The AG's office and FBI are working together on a joint investigation that will continue over the next few weeks," Grisham said. "Due to the nature of the business in question, the site is secure and bio hazard precautions are being made as an extra safety measure for the investigators. The general public is in no danger."
The Attorney General's Office announced Wednesday that people who've had family members donate their body or body parts can call 602-542-8888 to express their concerns.
Steve Gore from the Biological Resource Center released the following statement Friday night:
"On January 21, 2014, the FBI and members of the Attorney General's Office visited Biological Resource Center of Arizona with a search and seizure warrant. Our staff willingly cooperated and answered all of their questions without counsel and we will continue to cooperate with the authorities to the best of our abilities.
"As per the Attorney's General message to the public, little information has been made available. This lack of information has led many to speculate and to make incorrect conclusions. We hope to know more within the coming days and weeks, at which time we will provide additional information.
"Please be assured that the staff of Biological Resource Center of Arizona works diligently each day to serve and honor our donors and their families with dignity and respect. We adhere to the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, which governs anatomical donation. Through our informed consent process, individuals are able to contribute to the advancement of medical education, research and training.
"Biological Resource Center of Arizona does not provide organs or other tissues for transplantation. For nearly a decade, we have worked with universities, researchers, medical device companies and educators who rely on these selfless gifts from donors to provide better healthcare and quality of life for our society.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many friends, family and colleagues of Biological Resource Center of Arizona who have shown their unwavering support over the last several days.
"Through our cooperation with the authorities, we are confident factual information is forthcoming that will further demonstrate Biological Resource Center of Arizona's ongoing commitment to donors, their families, the integrity of the donor process and the mission to improve healthcare for everyone."
Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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