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Tampa's first potential body-snatcher scandal victim steps forward

Mar 2, 2006 |

As Jeffrey King and his wife Nancy walk around their Town 'N Country backyard, they can only wonder: Does Jeffrey have HIV, syphilis, or hepatitis?

Last October, Jeffrey had a bone implanted in his jaw because a rotted tooth had damaged his jawbone. The bone came from a cadaver, and in November, his dentist told him he'd learned the bone was stolen and was never checked for disease.

"I actually had a consultation with my dentist. He sat me down, closed the doors, and said, 'I have something I need to talk to you about,' " Jeffrey recalled. "I'll tell you what, I didn't know what to think. I was totally shocked. I mean my jaw dropped, I was beside myself, I didn't even know what to ask him after that. I just sat there and went"

The implanted bone now in Jeffrey's jaw was allegedly stolen from a corpse by men working with Biomedical Tissue Services of Fort Lee, New Jersey. As we first reported earlier this week, the company's owner, Michael Mastromarino who happens to be a former dental surgeon has been indicted, along with an embalmer and two others who allegedly did the actual cutting.

Hundreds of people across the country could be walking around with HIV, syphilis, or hepatitis. But the 46-year-old businessman and longtime Tampa resident is the first potential victim we know of from the bay area.

Jeffrey contacted Action News after seeing Matthew's report Tuesday night, and he says his dentist told him there are three other patients who also have stolen body parts implanted.

"There are victims right here in the Tampa Bay area. And god only knows how many more victims there are in the Tampa Bay area," he continued.

Jeffrey's dentist apparently had no idea the bone was stolen until notified by Tutogen Medical, a tissue and bone processing plant near Gainesville. Tutogen got the bone from the now-closed Biomedical.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey King has not been tested for disease; the blood kit sent to him remains unopened.

"It's been sitting on my dresser for a month. And I'd look at it every day and I'd think, 'Do I really wanna know?' " he explained. "Since your interview two days ago, the show I watched, I've since scheduled my appointment with my doctor to have it done."

Meanwhile, sources in New York City say more arrests are expected in this ghoulish scandal.

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