Doctors face police probe after ‘illegally harvesting eyes, heart and SPINE’ from tragic girl, 10, without her family’s permission

Elaina Castilleja died of a head injury last September in Lubbock, Texas, suspected to have originated when she was shaken as baby and left disabled.

Days after her death her grandmother Rebecca Villarreall, who adopted her, received a letter from the local chief medical examiner instructing doctors to remove eight organs.

The letter was signed by Dr Sam Andrews and it tells doctors to preserve the brain, but to remove the cervical spine, eyes, lungs and more.

Tearful Rebecca told KLBK: “This is not all of my baby.

“Because what I’m reading here, this is all of my child right here. Remove flesh…preserve the heart…I don’t even have her heart.

“We did not sign up for this. I knew she had to have an autopsy but this is remove her, remove this.

“She was ten years old. They literally disassembled my child.

“She wasn’t a toy. She wasn’t a doll. She was a person.”


Rebecca adopted Elaina when she was a year old and she suffered most of her life from effects of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

The grieving grandmother said she understood why an autopsy needed to be performed, but was never told why the body parts had to be permanently removed.

Villarreall added: “Who are these monsters? These are monsters. Who are these people? I didn’t sign no papers.

“I didn’t sign for them to disassemble, I know she’s up there, she’s in a new body and she’s running and she’s playing.

“To see this? This is nuts, this is sick, this is…who gives these people the right?”

Texas rangers have launched an investigation into whether Dr Andrews and Dr Evan Matshes improperly harvested organs.

Jason Corley, Lubbock County Commissioner told Texas media: “As a County Commissioner, we do have oversight over the medical examiner office.

“So that was my reasoning to looking into this.”

In a letter to a judge, Corley explains he was approached by former and current employees of the medical examiner’s office who made allegations about whole organs being taken out of the bodies of two children without good reason.

The identity of the children was not revealed out of respect for the families.

Corely added: “This time, we’re waiting for the Rangers to finish their investigations.”

It is unclear why Dr Andrews ordered the organs to be taken.

A former employee has also filed a lawsuit alleging wrongful dismissal when she complained of Dr Matshes performing an autopsy without a licence and raised concerns over shipping body parts to a pathology lab in California for research purposes.

Senee Graves told KCBD that Dr Matshes referred to putting left over baby parts “in a cup” and said she observed him taking out organs that were not needed to determine the cause of death.

The Lubbock County Medical Examiner’s office of Dr Andrews declined to comment to The Sun Online.

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