North Texas

Cadaver Headed to Research Lab Found by Denton Police

Police said they think a cadaver found along a North Texas road was being transported to Denver for medical research but fell out of a vehicle.

A Denton police officer discovered the body of 79-year-old Nell Joseph on U.S. 380 near Nail Road at about 1:10 a.m. Tuesday covered in medical grade ice and strapped to a board in a black body bag.

Officials said Joseph had lung disease when she died in Fort Worth on Thanksgiving Day. Her family decided to donate her body to Science Care so the organization could study chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The driver told authorities he didn't realize the body had crashed through the van's back window, which Denton police said was broken. The cargo area of the van is closed off from the front passenger area and the driver wouldn't necessarily know the back window had been broken, police said.

"While there are questions that remain unanswered, there is no indication that this matter involved criminal wrongdoing, and that this was just a tragic accident. The investigation into this matter by the Denton Police Department has been closed," police said Friday.

A spokeswoman for Science Care said they stopped using the transportation firm amid a review of the incident.

NBC 5's Todd L. Davis contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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