POLICE have busted a Valencia body-snatching gang that removed corpses from hospitals like La Fe and nursing homes to sell them for up to €1,200 each to university-based medical schools.
The Montesinos funeral home in Benicalet is accused of running the racket and targeting dead people without family members and who preferably were non-Spaniards.
The home produced fake documents to remove bodies from hospital morgues in order to make money out of them.
The Policia Nacional discovered an invoice of €5,040 to one university for 11 cremations after the bodies had been studied, but no such procedures took place at any of Valencia’s crematoriums.
Police got involved at the start of 2023 after discovering that a body had been removed from a hospital morgue by a funeral home, with forgeries made in the registry book and in documentation provided to the Civil Registry.
Officers found two Montesinos funeral home workers broke the rules with the deal, with the deceased person scheduled to have been interred in a charity burial paid for by a Valencia area town.
Instead, the corpse was sold for €1,200 with no family member or friend giving any consent.
The police investigation uncovered another case- this time of a man who was admitted to a nursing home, who three days before his death, and having no mental capacity to do so, allegedly authorised the donation of his body.
Even what was agreed did not happen, with a specified medical school not getting the corpse, but it was instead sent to another institution who were prepared to pay more for it.
Institutions were also overcharged for cremations once they had finished with the bodies.
A single ‘group’ incineration involving several corpses took place, to allow the funeral home to pocket thousands of euros in illegal profits.
The two owners of the Montesinos funeral home have been arrested along with two employees for fraud and forging documents.
The University of Valencia has made it clear that its faculties of medicine and dentistry only accept body donations and make no payments.
The CEU Universidad Cardenal Herrera said it follows very ‘strict protocols’ over the acceptance of bodies and that only pays for the costs of transfers and cremations which is ‘usual’.