Mystery of 100 missing brains solved

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SAN DIEGO – A case of about 100 missing brains from the University of Texas in Austin was solved, authorities said Wednesday.

In the 1990s, officials at University of Texas in Austin noticed that half of their 200 brains, all individually stored in formaldehyde, kept at their school were missing.

Timothy Schallert, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the Austin school, told the Los Angeles Times Wednesday morning the brains turned up at the University of Texas in San Antonio, but hours later denied receiving them.

By 1 p.m., a statement was released from the University of Texas at Austin explaining the brains were disposed of in 2002.

“A preliminary university investigation has revealed that UT environmental health and safety officials disposed of multiple brain specimens in approximately 2002 in accordance with protocols concerning biological waste,” according to a statement.

The brains, which were received in the 1980s, were destroyed because they were not suitable for research, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The brains, kept at the school’s Animal Resources Center in Austin, were mostly from patients at a state mental hospital and were used for research including studying Alzheimer’s disease.

One of the brains belonged to Charles Whitman, who climbed a tower on the Austin campus and killed 16 people in a deadly sniper attack. Whitman, a former Marine, was killed by police after his 1966 massacre.

Still unknown is the exact whereabouts of Whitman’s brain, whether it is among the Austin collection or has been sent down the highway to San Antonio.

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