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Authorities dropped criminal charges against the owner of a medical research firm that was accused of dumping body parts from donated bodies.
There was not find enough evidence for criminal charges against Paul Montano, whose Albuquerque company, Bio Care Inc., harvested organs from donated bodies for medical research, the Bernalillo County district attorney's office said.
After Bio Care took organs from donated bodies, it was supposed to cremate the remains and give the ashes to the families. But when authorities discovered some body parts came from people whose cremated remains had supposedly been returned to their families, Albuquerque police arrested Montano on three counts of fraud. The charges were dropped in June pending the outcome of the investigation.
"Ultimately, we were not able to see any evidence that would support any criminal charges in this case," said Patrick Davis, a spokesman for the Bernalillo County district attorney's office.
Fraud requires intent in addition to committing a fraudulent act, but authorities found no evidence Montano intended fraud, Davis said.
"The evidence tends to support that he began with a legitimate business deal ... that eventually went south," Davis said.
The investigation began in March 2010 when seven heads, a torso and several limbs turned up in red plastic tubs inside a delivery truck at the Kansas City, Kan., medical waste company Stericycle Inc. The tubs were traced back to Bio Care, where investigators found more body parts and bodies — some in a walk-in freezer that wasn't working.
Montano's telephone has been disconnected and he could not immediately be reached for comment. The Associated Press left a message Thursday for the attorney who is representing him in a bankruptcy case.
Albuquerque police did not turn up enough evidence to charge Montano with a felony, said police spokeswoman Sgt. Trish Hoffman.
"Everything he was doing was a misdemeanor," she said. "He had the right to all those bodies."
The city of Albuquerque plans to file a civil lawsuit to try to recover $10,000 the Police Department spent during the case, said city spokesman Chris Ramirez.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.