A medical examiner once owned a storage locker in Pensacola, Florida that contained human remains belonging to 100 people, including 10 brains, parts of lungs, tissue samples and hearts.
After Uncle Bob’s Storage auctioned off the abandoned unit, the new owner opened the door only to become overpowered by the odor.
Police found the human remains inside household containers leaking formaldehyde, The Associated Press reported.
“How horrible it is for the families of these deceased to think that someone’s loved one’s organs are basically rotting away in a storage unit somewhere,” Pensacola medical director Jeff Martin told the AP.
Dr. Michael Berkland was the previous owner of the unit.
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Officials at the Pensacola Medical Examiner’s Office fired Berkland in 2003 after seven years, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
He didn’t complete examinations on time and didn’t keep proper records, the PNJ said.
Berkland – whose whereabouts are unknown – also lost a previous job in Missouri.
The remains came from private autopsies completed by Berkland at local funeral homes during his time in Pensacola, examiner Dr. Andi Minyard said.
Florida allows private autopsies in certain instances.
“Florida tries to regulate things like improper storage of biomedical waste,” Minyard told the PNJ.
“Out of respect for the families as well, it’s a horrible thing to know that your uncle’s brain is setting in some storage shed that got sold at an auction.”
Berkland might now face charges related to improper storage of biomedical waste, the Daily News in Florida reported.
“We’re in the process of reviewing the facts and researching the law to determine whether a crime has been committed,” prosecutor Bill Eddins said, according to the Daily News.
“We do intend to talk to Dr. Berkland — it is my belief he is still local — and learn his reasons for keeping body parts there.”
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