University asks former employee for help in identifying bodies

IRVINE, Calif. - A former employee fired amid allegations he improperly sold body parts has been asked to help the University of California, Irvine, identify five corpses.

Christopher S. Brown, 27, was fired from the university in September for allegedly selling six spines to an Arizona hospital, allowing an anatomy tutoring service to use cadavers for unauthorized classes and improperly disposing of cremated remains.

Brown has said he's innocent of the allegations.

University officials are trying to identify the five cadavers for family members who question the way bodies were handled.

Although the university is exploring the use of fingerprinting and dental records, officials also believe Brown may be able to help.

''Chris Brown might be able to help us by reducing the number of possibilities and give us a lead that will enable us to do further identification,'' said Associate Vice Chancellor William Parker. ''Or he might see the bodies and say, 'Oh, yes, this is Mrs. So-and-so.' That would help us a lot.''

Brown's attorney welcomes the opportunity.

''He's the guy who can put the puzzle together,'' said attorney Stephen W. Solomon. ''They should have asked a long time ago. ...My client will help the university in whatever way he can to help them out of their alleged dilemma.''

But Orange County's Assistant District Attorney Robert Molko said he's leery of allowing Brown into the lab.

''I'd be very concerned about what controls are established to maintain the integrity of the evidence,'' he said.


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