A Seattle man was arrested Tuesday after allegedly driving to Arizona with five medical cadavers and hiding their dismembered remains in the woods.
Walter Mitchell, 59, is the former owner of a cadaver management business called Future GenX. The business, which handled bodies for medical research, had recently shut down – and Mitchell had apparently left Seattle with the remains of five individuals, according to a media release by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.
More than 1,300 miles from Seattle, in Prescott, Arizona, authorities were contacted on Dec. 26 following the discovery of two human limbs in a wooded area, according to the media release. Deputies searched the area to reveal another 24 dismembered body parts.
The next day, Prescott authorities received another call – this time from a hunter who had discovered two human heads in a forest almost two hours from the initial crime scene. Further investigation unearthed another three severed heads in the same area.
Similar materials were also found at both sites, including gauze and so-called “puppy pads” that are used to treat incontinent patients, according to the release.
Fearing the work of a serial killer, authorities worked feverishly over the next two days to determine the source of the 28 total dismembered remains, Sheriff Scott Mascher said in the media release. They quickly pinpointed Mitchell, who was near Phoenix at the time.
Mitchell was arrested Tuesday evening and charged with 28 counts of abandoning or concealing a dead body, according to authorities.
“It is not much that could surprise me anymore, but this news makes me sick, especially for the families of those whose remains were found,” Mascher said in a statement.
Mascher is retiring Friday after more than three decades in law enforcement, according to the release.
Detectives on this case have contacted Arizona facilities specializing in cadaver management. These businesses have all been “extremely cooperative,” according to the release, though it doesn't state what will be happen to the five dismembered bodies.
It’s unclear whether Mitchell has an attorney who can comment on his behalf.
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