Victim in tissue donation firm scandal speaks out

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(Source: 3TV) (Source: 3TV)
(Source: 3TV) (Source: 3TV)
(Source: 3TV) (Source: 3TV)
Stephen Gore pleaded guilty in October to a charge of illegally conducting an enterprise after his company, Biological Resource Center of Arizona, was the subject of a two-year investigation. (Source: 3TV) Stephen Gore pleaded guilty in October to a charge of illegally conducting an enterprise after his company, Biological Resource Center of Arizona, was the subject of a two-year investigation. (Source: 3TV)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

East Valley resident Troy Harp says for the last two years, he has been caught up in a nightmare in which he has been victimized twice. 

Harp said it all started when his 81-year-old grandmother, Eva Lena Shipmann, died in 2012, and a local hospice facility encouraged his family to help medical research by donating her body to a tissue donation facility know as Biological Resource Center.   

A year later, when Harps’s 66-year-old mother, Eva Ruhmann, died, the family again decided to donate the body to Biological Resource Center in the interest of medical science.

"For the greater value," Harp said. "That was our main goal."

But that noble goal turned into a nightmare in early 2014, according to Harp. That's when state and federal cops raided Biological Resource Center’s south Phoenix facility, alleging BRC was selling body parts on the black market and contrary to the donor’s wishes.  

"I have no closure with any of this," Troy said. "And it’s not just one relative; it’s two. It’s two times."

"When the news came out, and I found out there was a federal raid, I was in shock," Troy continued, “[I] didn’t even know what to say."

For the last two years, Harp has not spoken publicly about this family’s ordeal. That all changed when he sat down with me.

"It has left me an empty void," he said.

Like many families whose loved ones' bodies were donated to BRC, Harp’s family does not know if the ashes that were eventually returned to them are those of his mother and grandmother.

Harp has now joined eight other families in a civil lawsuit against BRC and its director, Steven Gore.  

Last month, a judge sentenced Gore to 12 months of deferred jail time and four years of probation. Gore had pleaded guilty to a felony charge for his role in mishandling the donations. 

[RELATED: Owner of human tissue donation firm sentenced (Dec. 11, 2015)]

[RELATED: Owner of human tissue donation firm pleads guilty in Arizona (Oct. 7, 2016)]

[RELATED: Investigation of Phoenix body donation center grows in scope (March 11, 2014)]

[RELATED: Owner of Biological Resource Center: I've done nothing wrong (Jan. 23, 2014)]

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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