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Former Seattle 'body broker' sentenced in Arizona for dumping bodies

Walter H. Mitchell was convicted in September of dumping the remains of at least nine people from Washington state in the Arizona desert.

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. — A Prescott, Arizona judge Monday sentenced a former Seattle "body broker" who was convicted of 29 counts of abandonment or concealment of a dead body.

Walter H. Mitchell was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in Arizona state prison. With time already served, Mitchell will spend just over four additional years behind bars.

Dave Griffen, whose daughter Amanda’s remains were among the abandoned body parts that Mitchell left in the desert spoke at sentencing. Amanda died of cancer in Seattle.

“To him (Mitchell), she was unproductive inventory," Griffen said. "To us, she was much more.”

Mitchell said at the sentencing that his "emotion today is for the family.” 

“If this helps the family at all, then I am sorry,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell dumped the remains of nine people, and two still appear to be unidentified.

Interestingly, Mitchell rejected a plea deal earlier this year that might have given him probation, fired his lawyer and proceeded to trial.

Mitchell ran a company in Seattle called FutureGenex, which solicited donated bodies that the company sold to medical education and research firms. Mitchell closed the company in September 2020 and moved to Arizona.

Mitchell packed several donated cadavers from Washington state on dry ice in a U-Haul truck and transported them to Arizona. In December 2020, he dumped at least two dozen body parts in the Prescott National Forest. Hunters and a couple collecting firewood discovered the heads, arms and legs soon after at two separate dump sites.

In a series of reports, the KING 5 Investigators detailed how Mitchell worked with a contractor, First Call Plus in Kent, that transported bodies for donation to the University of Washington Willed Body Program. The program provides cadavers for study by medical students. When the UW rejected donors because of disease or other issues, First Call Plus would recommend the donor’s family contact Mitchell. The university said it had no knowledge that its contractor was referring donor’s families to a private company and it has stopped the practice.

“He’s an evil man. I think he’s evil,” Cheryl Patterson said of Mitchell when interviewed earlier this year. 

Her ex-husband, Doug, was among the remains identified in Arizona through DNA.

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