PRESCOTT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- On Tuesday, a man was arrested in Scottsdale in connection to human remains found in two different areas near Prescott.
The arrest comes after several days of searching a remote area outside of Prescott near Contreras Road and Iron Springs Road, where remains were found on Saturday. The following day, additional remains were found in the Camp Wood area off Williamson Valley, northwest of Prescott.
"Abandoning remains in this manner is a serious crime."
Detectives with the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office arrested 59-year-old Walter Mitchell after linking the remains found to a business Mitchell owned in Seattle, Washington. Mitchell's business, Future GenX, was involved in the management of cadavers for research and had recently closed.
YCSO detectives worked with Seattle authorities and learned that Mitchell had left the city at some point this year with human remains belonging to five people. Law enforcement traced Mitchell's travels to the Prescott/Chino Valley area, and then most recently, to Scottsdale.
Authorities have yet to determine a motive for Mitchell, who was booked on 28 counts under ARS 13-2926. The Arizona law states:
It is unlawful for a person to knowingly move a dead human body or parts of a human body with the intent to abandon or conceal the dead human body or parts.
Bond has not been set yet for Mitchell. The investigating is still active, and detectives are still gathering additional details.
Several licensed facilities in Arizona who manage cadavers for medical research worked with detectives throughout their investigation. Facilities want the public to know this case does not represent the work they do to care for people who have donated their bodies to important education and research.
“This situation is unimaginable, and I am so sorry for the families whose loved ones were donated to research and treated by Walter Mitchell such a horrific fashion. I want to thank the community for their patience as we investigated this case and am very proud of our detectives, staff, and volunteers, for the work they did to identify and arrest the suspect so quickly," said Sheriff Scott Mascher. "At the onset, it was important to determine that this case did not involve a serial killer and is why, working with Sheriff-Elect Rhodes, I directed all available resources to the case."