Body Snatchers in NY Update.
Grotesque scandal like a 'cheap horror movie'
Body-parts company spread disease, desecrated the dead for profit
AP. Updated: 9:38 a.m. CT June 12, 2006
NEW YORK - As a seasoned cutter, Lee Cruceta thought he knew when it was safe to harvest human tissue from the dead for transplants to the living and when it wasn't. This time, it wasn't.
The man's body stretched out in front of Cruceta in the back room of a Manhattan funeral home after hours one day last summer had yellowish skin. His vacant eyes had the same sickly cast a sign of jaundice. Cruceta telephoned his boss, Michael Mastromarino, to tell him the bad news: The body had failed inspection. We always went by the rule that if you come across a body and you say to yourself, 'I don't want any part of that person in my body, you rule the case out, Cruceta said.
But Mastromarino, by Cruceta's account, surprised him. Stay put, he said.
The boss came down, checked out the body himself and declared that everything looked fine.
I was overruled, Cruceta said.
An x-ray of the lower part of a deceased person shows that PVC plumbing pipes were inserted where the bones once were in this photo released by the Brooklyn, N.Y. District Attorneys Office. Michael Mastromarino, owner of Biomedical Tissue Services of Fort Lee, N.J., was charged with secretly carving up corpses and selling the parts for use in transplants.
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