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Suspect in human body parts case arrested in Scottsdale

Walter Mitchell (Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Photo)

PHOENIX – Authorities made an arrest Tuesday in the case of human body parts found over the weekend in northern Arizona.

Walter Mitchell, 59, was arrested in Scottsdale and booked on 28 counts of moving human remains with the intent to conceal or abandon them, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

Around 20 human limbs were discovered near Prescott on Saturday, and five human heads were found at a different location in the county on Sunday. Physical evidence showed that both sites were likely connected to the same suspect, YCSO said.

YCSO said the remains probably came from a business Mitchell owned in Seattle called Future GenX, which managed cadavers for research and recently closed, YCSO said.

Police in Seattle helped Arizona detectives determine that Mitchell left Washington with the remains of five decedents.

Sheriff Scott Mascher said he made the case a priority because it might have involved a serial killer.

“This situation is unimaginable, and I am so sorry for the families whose loved ones were donated to research and treated in such a horrific fashion,” he said in a Facebook post.

“I want to thank the community for their patience as we investigated this case and am very proud of our detectives, staff and volunteers for the work they did to identify and arrest the suspect so quickly.”

Mascher, who is retiring, coordinated with Sheriff-elect David Rhodes on the investigation.

“The disrespect shown to the deceased in this case by those who were charged with caring for their remains is abhorrent and intolerable,” Rhodes said in the post.

“Today’s arrest is a big step in getting accountability and honor for those whose remains were so cavalierly treated.”

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