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Man Transports 9 Bodies in U-Haul from Seattle to Arizona and Dumps Them in the Wilderness

A Washington state “body broker” has been found guilty of dumping the bodies of donated cadavers in the Arizona wilderness. In a news release, the Yavapai County, Arizona, county attorney’s office announced that 61-year-old Walter Harold Mitchell had been convicted Thursday on 29 counts of abandonment or concealment of a dead body. On Dec. 26, 2020, woodcutters found human limbs near the Arizona town of Prescott, according to the news release. The next day, two hunters found two severed heads in a separate location, the news release states. Subsequent investigations by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office led to the identification of 24 body parts — including a total of five severed human heads. Ultimately, nine bodies were involved according to the release. Mitchell owned a body-donation business in Washington state before moving to Arizona, according to the news release. According to the release, he left Washington state for Arizona in February 2020. He moved the body parts in a U-Haul truck in dry ice, the release states. In Arizona, he kept them in a powered freezer in a storage shed until November 2020, when he took them into the wild, the release states. Investigators found a label for “FutureGenex,” the since-defunct cadaver donation company owned by Mitchell, at the scene of one of the two dump sites. The body parts were also marked with silver tags and serial numbers, according to the news release. Tags and serial numbers are “commonly used for donor parts,” the release states. In the release, Yavapai County Chief Deputy Attorney Dennis McGrane called the crime a “horrific case,” in which Mitchell callously abandoned the body parts of donors who intended that their remains be used for medical purposes. In his statement, the prosecutor expressed his “hopes this verdict will bring some justice and closure to those families whose loved ones were donated for medical research and treated so disrespectfully.” Investigators used DNA testing to identify the remains, with relatives of the deceased shocked to learn that the remains of their loved ones were so grossly disrespected. One woman, whose ex-husband donated his body only for the remains to be dumped, said the offender is depraved. “He’s an evil man. I think he’s evil,” Cheryl Patterson said, according to KING-TV. Mitchell was first arrested in connection to the dumpings in December 2020, the newspaper reported. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 31, according to the news release. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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