A convicted bone snatcher is reportedly dying of bone cancer as he serves time in prison for his crimes. Michael Mastromarino, age 49, was convicted of selling millions of dollars worth of bones he stole from corpses.
According to authorities, Mastromarino, along with several funeral directors, harvested the bones and sold them illegally. The bones and other parts were reportedly sold to medical facilities for millions.
As reported by NPR, bones and other tissue harvested from corpses can be used in multiple medical procedures. Bones are used to create “plates and screws,” which are used to set broken bones or to replace damaged bones. Tendons and veins can also be replaced with those taken from cadavers.
Mastromarino, a former dental surgeon, admitted harvesting the bones and tissue from corpses. He further admitted forging documentation stating he had consent to sell the body parts. He has stated that he made well over $1 million per year between 2000 and 2005.
In 2008, he plead guilty to “body stealing” and was sentenced to a maximum of 58 years in prison.
The bone snatcher is now reportedly suffering from bone cancer. Mastromarino’s attorney Mario Gallucci reports that he is currently dying and has been given his last rites. He has reportedly been transferred to Wende Correctional Facility in New York, which houses the sick and dying.
As reported by NY Daily News, one of the bodies violated by Mastromarino belonged to the former host ofMasterpiece Theater, Alistair Cooke. Susan Cooke Kittridge, Alistair’s daughter, has said that while Mastromarino’s diagnosis is ironic, she is sympathetic toward his family for what they are going through.
Susan recalls her father’s battle with cancer and how painful it was to see him suffer. She states that she does not judge Mastromarino,and does not “feel any satisfaction that he is suffering.”
Cooke’s body was one of an estimated 1,600 that were harvested for bones. The convicted bone snatcher was given his last rites two weeks ago and is said to be close to death from the bone cancer.
[Image via Wikimedia]