A man who purchased the contents of a self-storage unit during an auction at an Uncle Bob’s Self Storage facility in Pensacola, Fla., discovered human organs belonging to more than 100 people preserved inside drink cups and Tupperware containers. Dr. Michael Berkland, a former medical examiner, allegedly hid the hearts, lungs and brains between 1997 and 2007, investigators said.
Berkland was fired from his position as a Pensacola medical examiner in 2003 for failing to complete autopsy reports. The self-storage unit came up for auction only recently after Berkland failed to remain current on rental payments.
The man who won the unit auction first found a rotting human heart inside a 32-ounce drink cup that had a cracked lid. The organs, as well as some tissue samples, were soaking in formaldehyde inside their containers. He immediately alerted local police.
Florida officials are cross-referencing names in their database with Berkland’s autopsy cases to see if they can determine the origins of the organs. Investigators believe the body parts may be from private autopsies performed at local funeral homes.
No charges have been filed in the case, as officials continue their investigation.