By Sue Major Holmes Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police arrested the owner of a business linked to the discovery of six heads and numerous other human body parts in a truck at a Kansas medical waste facility.
Bio Care Southwest owner Paul Montano, 31, was arrested late Wednesday at his office on three counts of fraud and was being held on $100,000 bond.
Sealed plastic bags containing the heads and body parts were found last week in 12 large red plastic tubs inside a delivery truck at a Stericycle Inc. facility in Kansas City, Kan. Authorities there said Stericycle disposes of waste such as operating room debris or syringes but doesn’t incinerate major body parts.
The tubs had shipping labels from The Learning Center, which is affiliated with Bio Care.
Three people’s remains have been identified so far, and today New Mexico officials said one was a 42-year-old woman from Albuquerque. A Kansas coroner has identified two men and one woman, but won’t release their names.
Montano has agreed to provide paperwork to the Kansas coroner’s office in connection with remains discovered there, police spokeswoman Nadine Hamby said.
“The big question and concern is my loved one that Bio Care gave me in my urn, is that my loved one or not?” she said.
Jacqueline Marie Snyder’s remains were identified through a tag that shows her body went to the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator for an autopsy on Nov. 1, said Amy Boule of the office. The body was turned over to a funeral home on Nov. 3.
Montano said Tuesday his company wasn’t involved in the body parts found in Kansas. He did not return several messages left by The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The main telephone number that had been listed on the company’s Web site had been disconnected Wednesday.
Bio Care receives donated bodies and harvests organs and other parts, which it sells for medical research. Bodies are stored in refrigerated units until donated organs are returned, then Bio Care sends the remains for cremation and gives the ashes to the families, according to the affidavit. The company has a contract with Stericycle to dispose of any leftover medical waste.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit for Montano, Kansas City homicide detectives called Albuquerque police March 20, March 21 and March 26 about containers with body parts from the Learning Center.
The affidavit said all the bodies appeared to have been dismembered by a coarse cutting instrument such as a chain saw.
Wyandotte County (Kan.) coroner Alan C. Hancock said Tuesday that Stericycle employees first became concerned a few weeks ago when they found a head in their incineration facility.
He said he was able to find a death certificate for one of the men based on a medical identification tag on an arm. The certificate said the man had been cremated.
Hancock said an Albuquerque funeral director told him the man’s body had been delivered in a sealed box from Bio Care — standard procedure after the company harvests a body for research. The funeral director said the box with that man’s remains was sent to the crematorium.