The body of an elderly man who died from COVID-19 was allegedly dissected in front of a live, ticket-paying audience last month in Oregon.
David Saunders was 98 years old when he died from the illness back in October in Louisiana, at which point his family decided to donate the decorated World War II veteran’s body to science for medical research. Things didn’t go according to plan, though, after his body was said to have been unexpectedly sold by researchers to the Oddities and Curiosities Expo.
According to KING 5 News, Saunders’ family donated his body to Med Ed Labs, a Las-Vegas based company that does medical research and training, using recently-deceased corpses to that end. However, the news outlet reported that the Oddities and Curiosities Expo apparently purchased Saunders’ body from Med Ed Labs for “north of $10,000.”
The expo then allegedly turned around and held a live dissection of Saunders’ body in front of a paying audience in the city of Portland last month. According to the report, the expo charged $500 per ticket (!!!) for viewers to watch the live dissection take place (shown in screenshots of secret-camera footage from one of the dissections, above).
According to its own website, the expo travels the country showcasing “taxidermy, preserved specimens, original artwork, horror/halloween inspired pieces, antiques, handcrafted oddities, quack medical devices, creepy clothing, odd jewelry, skulls/bones, funeral collectibles.” Per People, at some point recently the expo removed any mention of “live dissection” from its site, although KING 5 News has published indisputable footage of the events taking place in recent weeks.
Jeremy Ciliberto (pictured above, top right corner), the founder of DeathScience.org and a partner to the Oddities and Curiosities Expo, claimed that the event group had obtained the family’s consent prior to the dissection. He further told the news outlet that the expo’s work was “not a sideshow,” but instead “very professional.”
Saunders’ family, including 92-year-old wife Elsie, is understandably angry at the consent characterization from Ciliberto. The news station reports that his loved ones were “not aware body would be used in this manner, and they did not give consent.” Med Ed Labs didn’t even know the body would be used for a pay-per-view event, either, according to a spokesman for that company.
The Louisiana funeral home where Saunders’ body was prepared, Church Funeral Services, released their own statement this week about the unfortunate situation, too:
“We are extremely saddened for the pain that that Mr. Saunders’ wife is having going through. We are glad that the story has been broken and hope that this type of event never happens again.”
Here’s more on the public autopsy and following outcry from a Wednesday night KING 5 News report, including their secret-camera investigation into these controversial live dissections (below):
What a world we live in…
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