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Oregon county bans displaying human remains after KING 5 investigation

Violators who display human remains for a profit will be fined after county commissioners in Oregon approved a new ordinance.

MULTNOMAH COUNTY, Ore. — Commissioners in Oregon's most populated county passed a new law Thursday following a KING 5 investigation exposing an event where human bodies were dissected on stage.

The Multnomah County Commission unanimously approved an ordinance that imposes civil penalties for people who display human remains for a profit.

The fine for violators is $1,000 a day, and authorities can seize any profits from an illegal event.

The action follows a KING 5 Investigation in October that exposed an autopsy show in Portland, Ore. in which the body of a 98-year-old man was dissected. The audience paid up to $500 a ticket to attend. 

A similar event that was planned for Seattle on Halloween day was canceled.

The man's widow told commissioners last week that she was "duped" by people who abused her husband's body to make money.

“Could they not realize this was once a lively, and caring human being?” Elsie Saunders asked commissioners.

After David Saunders died, his body was handed off to Las Vegas-based Med Ed Labs. His family thought the company would use the corpse for medical research. The director of the funeral home that handled Saunders’ body said the company never told him or the family that Saunders’ remains would be used in such a manner.

However, the event’s organizer, founder of DeathScience.org Jeremy Ciliberto, told KING 5 that the donor and his family did give consent.

An administrator for Med Ed Labs, the firm that sold Saunders' corpse to Ciliberto, said Ciliberto was “beyond” dishonest in his dealings with Med Ed. Obteen Nassiri said Cilberto claimed he would use the body for a medical class.

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