An investigation into a body broker that began with a search of a Detroit business has expanded to Phoenix.
Photo courtesty: ABC15.com in Phoenix, Arizona
(WXYZ) - 7 Action News has learned the FBI is expanding its investigation into a human body parts selling network with ties from Michigan to Arizona.
The Feds and the Arizona Attorney General's Office served search warrants today on Biological Resource Center in Phoenix , a body donation center. But sources say the owners have business ties to Arthur Rathburn who is the owner of International Biological that is housed in a shabby warehouse on Detroit's east side.
Sources say the FBI removed body parts of 1,000 different people in December that were cut up-- arms, legs, and heads that were not embalmed, but kept on ice for the market.
The parts are used for medical training for doctors and dentists to practice procedures. But, also, in some cases tissue was used for transplant into live patients.
Sources say in many cases, bodies that were supposed to be buried or cremated were instead sold to the black market unknown to family members.
Sources also say they are making progress identifying bodies obtained by investigators in Detroit and those family members will be contacted as the investigation continues.
Sources say they will be looking at other businesses in Michigan and other states.
Arthur Rathburn is not charged with a crime and not in custody. He has refused to talk with 7 Action News since his business and home were searched in December.
Rathburn has had a Michigan license for mortuary science since the 1980s.