Dale Wheatley works as a delivery man for the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois, a collaboration of eight in-state medical institutions with a common goal. The AGA, according to its website, “procures, prepares, and preserves donations for medical and scientific study,” as well as making its facilities available to health professionals and students. The AGA’s gifts are “an individual’s body after death,” according to their website.
However, Wheatley claims that the AGA has seen better days.
“The place is appalling. “It’s in disrepair,” he remarked at a press conference this week, according to the Chicago Tribune. “If you’re in there for more than five minutes, and you start walking around, you start to stick to the floor.”
Wheatley told Chicago-based Fox affiliate WFLD that some donated bodies had been returned to the foundation owing to their poor preservation and care.
“They’re sending back donors because of mold and rot, bugs,” he explained. “I’ve pulled donors from our storage room out of the racks, and rats have chewed through the bottom of the bag, through the feet.”
Wheatley believes the trio of decapitated heads is revenge for a recent string of complaints he filed with his superiors.
“My boss walked by, and I asked him why the heads were at my desk,” he explained to WFLD. “He said they needed to return with their bodies so we could cremate them.” ‘I get that,’ I responded, ‘but why are they at my desk?’And he said, ‘I don’t know Dale, a lot of strange things are going on.'”
Wheatley said that the heads had an “obnoxious smell.”
According to the Tribune, the AGA’s Executive Vice President William O’Connor strongly denied Wheatley’s accusations, saying the group receives some bodies in poorer states than others and denying that Wheatley was retaliated against – noting that handling body parts is part of his job description because he manages the rack room where bodies are stored before being sent out in a van.
According to the Tribune, Wheatley has filed a number of complaints with several local regulators to improve working conditions at the AGA, with the assistance of employment attorney David Fish.
“Mr. Wheatley feels that AGA should have and use a scale to weigh donors’ bodies in order to assess the amount of embalming fluid required to prevent premature decaying and shortening of usefulness,” Fish told the paper.
“The embalming method requires that the bodies be weighed and the weight is applied to the formula, and we don’t have a weight scale at AGA, so the bodies are being eyeballed, the weight’s not accurate, and it’s leading to those conditions,” Wheatley told WFLD.
He also expressed worry about the dignity of families impacted by donors and how their remains are treated.
“There are people in our cooler right now who need their body parts back, and they’ve been there for three years or more,” Wheatley told the television outlet. “Right now at AGA, we have a number of cremains that need to be returned to the families, hundreds of cremains sitting at our AGA.”
After the dismembered heads emerged on his desk, the rack room manager also filed a police report. However, he does not wish to pursue a case, according to his attorney. He simply wishes to return to work once the situation has improved.
“This is the only thing I can think about,” Wheatley told the Tribune. “I can’t even sleep right now.” It’s all I can think about, and I keep replaying it in my thoughts. I can’t believe this is actually happening.”
The AGA was contacted for comment on this article by Law&Crime, but no response was received at the time of publication.