CHICAGO (CBS) — With a plea hearing coming up next month for a father and son duo that is alleged to have been in a body part brokering scheme, families of the alleged victims are learning they may never get to make their voices heard.
John Butsch waited five years to really lay his daughter Alexandria to rest.
“She’s sitting in a freezer in Detroit,” he said.
Butsch said his daughter will be there until the case concludes.
Her remains are with the FBI and tied up in the case.
“I want people accountable for what they’ve done,” he said.
But he just learned he might not be a part of the case.
“I was led to believe that we would be able to speak at the sentencing,” he said.
Because the charges prosecutors chose to bring against Donald A Greene and his namesake are specifically related to diseased parts brokered, he said he was just informed the hundreds of families who say they were misled by the men may not have any say at their future sentencing.
“I think that the recourse that would give a sense of justice is being able to speak as a character statement,” he said.
That’s the request he made.
This is the response he said he got from the victim coordinator at the United State’s Attorney’s Office: “As the offenses charged in this case do not reveal this to be a victim’s case, please direct all correspondence to Judge Borman’s office.”
“Not a victim’s case?” he said. “What do you tell 200 people? That this is not a victim’s case? The 200 people who have their loved ones on ice in a freezer in Detroit have no voice. And if the plea hearing goes through and sentencing is done, that’s it.”
CBS 2’s Tara Molina reached out to the victim coordinator, Sandy Palazzolo, but was told to reach the office’s public information officer, Gina Balaya. She declined to clarify or comment due to the pending nature of the case.
“I’ll be there,” said Butsch. “I’ll be there whether they allow me or not.”
And this is about more than speaking at the sentencing. Butsch said he will not stop pushing for accountability and change in Illinois.
The feds honed in on a key link–notorious Detroit body broker Arthur Rathburn. He’s now in federal prison, and evidence collected in his case led federal investigators to the Chicago area, and to the Greenes.
CBS 2 first broke the story of precious cargo and broken promises that donated bodies would go to medical research in 2015. Those promises were allegedly made by the Greenes.
The father and son duo was behind the now shuttered Biological Resource Center of Illinois.
Those broken promises led the FBI to the center more than four years ago.
Bodies and body parts weren’t donated at all, but in some cases were sold on the black market, the feds said.