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The ghoulish body parts for sale ring stole the bones of “Masterpiece Theatre” host Alistair Cooke just before he was cremated, the Daily News has learned.
The celebrated broadcaster and actor died March 30, 2004, of lung cancer that spread to his bones.
The next day, without permission of any family members, body snatchers surgically carved out the 95-year-old’s diseased bones.
The bones were sold for more than $7,000 to two tissue processing companies for eventual transplant procedures, sources told The News.
“I hope those guys burn in hell for what they did,” said longtime Cooke family attorney David Grossberg.
The alleged leader of the body-snatching ring is Michael Mastromarino, whose operations are under investigation by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.
Mastromarino ran Biomedical Tissue Services Ltd., a tremendously profitable tissue recovery business that sold body parts, including bone, skin and cardiac valves.
After processing, Cooke’s bones could have been used for dental implants or numerous orthopedic procedures including dowels for damaged spines.