Police discover more items in stolen brains investigation

David Charles accused of stealing brains

INDIANAPOLIS - New developments were released Tuesday into the investigation of the thefts of human brains and other artifacts from the Indiana Historical Medical Museum after police recovered several boxes of allegedly stolen surgical instruments.

In an exclusive report by RTV6's Jack Rinehart, police said the stolen artifacts were on sale on Craig's List for thousands of dollars.

On Tuesday, Indianapolis Metro Police Department officers served a warrant on Daniel Swallers at his home. Inside, police found boxes of surgical instruments they said were stolen last fall from the IHMM on the grounds of Central State Hospital.

Swallers said he didn't know the name of the person he bought the items from and that he paid $100 for them.

"They were offering and they said they had a casket and a human skeleton. She showed me the boxes. I said that's all I'm interested in. I'm not interested in skeletons and stuff," Swallers said.

IMPD said the artifacts were stolen from the museum along with more than 100 jars of human brains and tissue samples from patients dating back to the pre-1900s. The museum is the only facility of its kind in the country and still serves as a modern lab for of schizophrenia, bi-polar disease and Alzheimer's.

Police say that 21-year-old David Charles stole the brain and tissue samples and then sold them on Ebay to a suspicious collector in California who called police.

"There's a surge in collecting oddities as an aspect of popular culture right now. The television show 'Oddities' I think, has spurred on this trend," Mary Ellen Hennessey Nottage with the IHMM said.

Police say there's a considerable list of valuable antiquities still unrecovered, including more than 50 jars of human brains and tissue, skeletons, an operating table and a casket.

Swallers remains in police custody as investigators try to trace the stolen goods.

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