Police Release More Details About Body Parts Found In Storage Unit

August 30, 2012

A multi-agency investigation continues into the discovery of human body parts found inside a Pensacola storage unit on August 24 in an effort to determine what, if any, laws may have been broken.

The remains were stored in plastic containers, specimen cups and trash bags inside Unit B12 at Uncle Bob’s Storage at 195 East Fairfield Drive. The unit was rented by Dr. Michael Berkland, a former associate medical examiner who is no longer licensed in Florida, according to the Pensacola Police Department.

Lungs, hearts, tissue samples, and 10 brains were among the body parts from more than 100 people found in the air conditioned unit. The body parts were stored in formaldehyde in plastic containers, plastic bags, and even a 32-ounce Styrofoam cup from a convenience store.

Some of the containers had cracked and leaked, police said.

The discovery was reported to police on Friday. Storage shed Manager George Klages told police contents of the unit had been sold for $900 during an auction on August 22. As the purchaser began cleaning out the unit, cardboard boxes of plastic containers holding the remains were found.

Klages told police Berkland rented the unit from April 8, 2009, until it was auctioned August 22. He said Berkland was late on rental payments several times during the lease, but usually paid right before the unit contents were to be auctioned. The storage unit also contained office furniture and other property.

It is believed the remains are from autopsies Berkland did between 1997 and 2007 at funeral homes in Pensacola, Tallahassee, Fort Walton Beach, and Panama City.

There were labels on some of the containers of a person’s name and autopsy date but other containers did not have identification indicators.

The remains have been given to the Medical Examiner’s Office. The Pensacola Police Department is not releasing the inventory because some of the decedent families may not be aware of the investigation.

Berkland worked for the Medical Examiner’s Office between 1997 and May 2003 when he was fired for failing to complete autopsy reports in a timely manner.

The discovery is being investigated by the State Attorney’s Office, the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Pensacola Police Department.


8 Responses to “Police Release More Details About Body Parts Found In Storage Unit”

  1. Teresa on August 30th, 2012 10:11 pm

    Is the good ol’ doc alive? If these “specimens” were kept for undetermined medical causes…seems like he would release a statement. He was in the public “eye” not so long ago.
    If he is old, sick, or feeble it seems as if the family ( if there is any) would release a statement saying they had no clue why body parts were there and that they were cooperating with proper officials to notify and clear up any misunderstandings or criminal activities that Dr. Berkland may have broke.
    Most of our body part end up where we don’t want them in the long run…between the autopsy and trying to make you look good for an open casket ….even in cremation.
    My question..How many more storage unite’s are like this????

    UMM: I thought of Dexter also…But he wouldn’t have left such a mess!

  2. No Excuses on August 30th, 2012 1:40 pm

    The authorities will release the names of the deceased eventually. Right now, it’s an ongoing investigation and some of the families of the deceased may not know what is going on. They will want to notify all families that they can before turning those names loose.

  3. umm on August 30th, 2012 9:35 am

    Sounds like someone has watched to much Dexter… And these are the people we trust to care for out loved ones…such a shame what the world has come to!!!

  4. Jane on August 30th, 2012 9:04 am

    Aren’t there laws regarding disposal of human remains even if they are autopsied? And I can’t believe they would be allowed to put them in a storage unit in plastic bags/containers!

  5. 32514gator on August 30th, 2012 8:56 am

    Did the bidder get his money back or is he out the $900

  6. escambiamom on August 30th, 2012 8:22 am

    Do people buy the contents of these storage units sight unseen? What a surprise this person who won the auction must have received for his $900! Yuck!

  7. Emily on August 30th, 2012 7:49 am

    Its sad to hear this but also hurts to hear they won’t release any names of the deceased that they find. What if we had family that had passed during those times?

  8. Janet on August 30th, 2012 6:42 am

    This Dr. Berkland had been fired from a Kansas City hospital before coming to Florida. I’m having a hard time thinking he won’t face some type of charges. How sad parts of a person were left for years before being found.

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