ST. LOUIS -- The FedEx envelope looked ordinary. White, with the purple and orange logo. It arrived recently in the newsroom. The packing slip listed the sender as Philip J. Guyett Jr. Placing the name took a moment. Guyett? Wait. Wasn't that the guy ... the guy who sent body parts via FedEx?
Eight years ago, Guyett made headlines when he shipped three FedEx boxes to the St. Louis area. One of those boxes was damaged en route. It began leaking blood. A worker at a shipping facility in Maplewood, Mo., decided to look inside. He found a human leg, cut off at mid-thigh. He opened the other boxes. He found a second severed leg and a full arm.
It was a Dahmer-esque discovery. Police were called, media alerted. And to just about everyone's surprise, officials said it was all legal. Shipping body parts was fine, with the correct paperwork. And Guyett had it.
With that, he disappeared from public view. But the episode felt unfinished, like this couldn't possibly be the end of things. And it wasn't -- which explained the FedEx envelope from Guyett now.
Guyett was a body broker. He doesn't like that term. But it best describes him: a death-industry middleman who found people willing to donate their bodies to science, then carved them up and distributed the pieces nationwide to surgical conferences and research labs.