A 61-year-old man was convicted of several charges relating to abandoning a corpse about two years after body parts were found scattered in a remote area.
The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office announced a jury found Walter Harold Mitchell guilty of 29 counts of abandonment or concealment of a dead body.
According to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, on Dec. 26, 2020, deputies were notified about the discovery of human remains near Prescott and searched the area for additional body parts. The Yavapai County medical examiner who was at the scene said the “evidence tends to show the remains are from a medical institution intended for use in the educational and research field.”
The discovered limbs included “detached arms and legs,” as well as five severed heads.
The attorney’s office said 24 body parts were found in total.
As the investigation continued, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office learned the remains were connected to a former Seattle-based business called “Future GenX,” which Mitchell owned and operated. His company reportedly “involved the management of cadavers for research.”
The business closed down in 2020, and Mitchell reportedly left Seattle with the remains of five individuals.
According to the county attorney’s office, the body parts were marked with silver tags and had serial numbers on them, which are reportedly used for donor purposes. Mitchell reportedly used rented freezer space to store the body parts from “not less than 9 donors,” and when he left Washington, he transported the bodies in a U-Haul with dry ice.
The statement says Mitchell lived in Chino Valley and had a shed with a chest freezer inside where he kept the body parts. He reportedly admitted to dumping the remains in November 2020. He then reportedly sold the chest freezer and moved to Scottsdale, where he was arrested.
The deputy Yavapai County attorney thanked the jury for “sitting through such a horrific case and hopes this verdict will bring some justice and closure to those families whose loved ones were donated for medical research and treated so disrespectfully.”