Authorities have made quite a startling discovery on Tuesday, when a body donated to Science Care was found on a northern Texas road.
Apparently, the corpse belonged to Nell Joseph, a 79-year old woman from who had passed away on Thanksgiving Day in a Fort Worth health clinic, afer battling COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
The deceased woman’s body, which had been stored at Global Mortuary Affairs, located in Mesquite, Texas, had been donated to Science Care, the largest organization in the world that facilitates whole body donations.
The aim had been for the cadaver to be used by scientists at a medical research center so as to gain further knowledge regarding lung disease, with the ultimate purpose of finding more effective ways of eradicating COPD and other similar conditions.
Instead however, the body, which had been encapsulated in medical grade ice in order to be effectively preserved, tumbled out of the window of a moving mortuary van on Tuesday, as it was being transported to a research facility from Aurora, Colorado.
Apparently, the window at the rear of the vehicle, which was actually carrying several donor bodies, somehow got shattered on route.
This fact wasn’t known to the driver, who was also completely unaware that Joseph’s corpse, placed in a black body bag and attached to a board, wound up on U.S. Route 380, close to Nail Road.
That’s where it was found later that day, at approximately 1:15 a.m. by a Denton patrol officer, who was initially at a loss to understand exactly where the body had come from.
Eventually, light was shed into the matter, and the cadaver’s origins were identified. Even so, law enforcement has been carrying out an inquest so as to determine how the strange occurrence happened.
So far, statements issued by the driver of the mortuary van have surfaced. As he explained, he was never aware that donated body had plummeted onto the road, because otherwise he would’ve certainly stopped his car so as to retrieve it.
Police officers appear to find his explanation plausible, especially since the vehicle is composed of two sections (one of them housing the passengers, and the other one containing the freight).
These two areas are actually divided by a metal frame, making it impossible for the driver to determine what’s going on at the back of the van.
Therefore, as emphasized by officer Ryan Grelle, from the Denton Police Department, it doesn’t seem that any crime has been committed, and it’s much more likely that the entire event was all just a regrettable accident. As a result, no charges are pending at the moment, but it remains to be seen what the following days will bring.
Meanwhile, Melinda Ellsworth, a representative of the Science Care organization, has announced that the partnership with the van company has been discontinued, following this gross negligence.
While Joseph’s family is shocked that such an error could happen, they have declared that they still want the body to be used for medical research, just as it was planned originally.
Image Source: Science Care