SEATTLE — A jury has convicted a former Seattle “body broker” of dumping the remains of at least nine Washington state people in the Arizona desert.
Yavapai County jurors convicted Walter H. Mitchell of 29 counts of abandonment or concealment of a dead body after a jury trial in Prescott, Arizona this week.
“(I) would like to thank the jury for sitting through such a horrific case," Chief Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Dennis McGrane said in a press release. "This verdict will bring some justice and closure to those families whose loved ones were donated for medical research and treated so disrespectfully."
Mitchell ran a company in Seattle called FutureGenex, which solicited donated bodies that the company sold to medical education and research firms. Mitchell closed the company in September 2020 and moved to Arizona.
Mitchell packed several donated cadavers from Washington state on dry ice in a U-Haul truck and transported them to Arizona. In December 2020, he dumped at least two dozen body parts in the Prescott National Forest. Hunters and a couple collecting firewood discovered the heads, arms and legs soon after at two separate dump sites.
In a series of reports, the KING 5 Investigators detailed how Mitchell worked with a contractor, First Call Plus in Kent, that transported bodies for donation to the University of Washington Willed Body Program. The program provides cadavers for study by medical students. When the UW rejected donors because of disease or other issues, First Call Plus would recommend the donor’s family contact Mitchell. The university said it had no knowledge that its contractor was referring donor’s families to a private company and it has stopped the practice.
“He’s an evil man. I think he’s evil,” Cheryl Patterson said of Mitchell when interviewed earlier this year.
Her ex-husband, Doug, was among the remains identified in Arizona through DNA.