Pensacola, FL – A medical examiner allegedly stashed the hearts, lungs, and brains of more than 100 people inside drink cups and Tupperware containers. Dr. Michael Berkland is accused of keeping the human organs, which were soaking in formaldehyde, inside a rented storage unit. In 2003, the Pensacola medical examiner was fired for failing to complete autopsy reports.
Pensacola law enforcement officers believe the organs preserved in Tupperware and drink containers were gathered between 1997 and 2007, according to the Daily Mail. A man who purchased the contents from Uncle Bob’s Self Storage was likely quite shocked to find human hearts, brains, and lungs among the items inside the unit he won during an auction.
The human remains allegedly taken and stored in soda pop cups and food containers by Dr. Michael Berkland also included tissue samples. The Florida medical examiner neglected to pay his rent on the storage unit, prompting the contents to be included in an auction.
The man who won the Uncle Bob’s Self Storage unit auction immediately alerted Pensacola police officers after making the gruesome, and reportedly stinky, discovery. The stench rose from a rotting human heart inside a 32-ounce drink cup with a cracked lid.
Human organs stashed inside the Pensacola storage unit are reportedly remains from private autopsies performed at area funeral homes. The office of the Florida medical examiner’s is cross-referencing the names in their database with Dr. Michael Berkland’s autopsy cases in an attempt to determine the origins of the human hearts, brains, and lungs.
The numbering system used by the medical examiner on the containers does not match the identification system used in the Pensacola office, further hampering the name-matching process. Dr. Michael Berkland was also fired from a medical examiner’s office position in Jackson County, Missouri for a dispute over autopsy reports. Dr. Berkland’s medical license was eventually revoked in Missouri.
No charges have yet been filed against the former Pensacola medical examiner, but an investigation is ongoing. Dr. Michael Berkland may have broken statutes relating to the storing and disposing of human remains and biomedical waste, the Pensacola News Journal notes.