The heads were shipped from Rome as cargo on a Lufthansa Airlines flight, arriving at O’Hare about one week before Christmas.
“They were properly preserved and tagged as human specimens,” said Tony Brucci, chief investigator for the medical examiner’s office.
Brucci said U.S. Customs officials at O’Hare initially held up the shipment, when they found the paperwork to be “a little confusing.” Then the containers were X-rayed, and that’s when officials discovered what was inside, Brucci said.
Brian Bell, a spokesman with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said earlier Tuesday that the specimens appear to be legitimate medical samples.
“There’s no issue with the transportation of body parts for medical purposes,” Bell said. “There’s nothing against the law that says you cannot ship them, provided you have the right documentation.”
While Bell said he has never before fielded questions about a large package of human body parts, such shipments are not without precedent, he noted.
“Everybody here is ‘Oh my gosh, you got a box of heads’ and everybody thinks that it’s unheard of,” Bell said. “It is a potentially legitimate medical shipment. We’ve seen it at various ports in the nation.”
I know what you mean. Who hasn’t had problems arise when shipping decapitated heads?