Security guard accused of necrophilia in Banner hospital morgue

A former security guard at Banner University Medical Center-Phoenix was arrested Nov. 28 after he was accused of committing sexual acts on the body of a deceased 79-year-old woman in the hospital's morgue. 

A spokesperson for Phoenix-based Banner Health confirmed the incident to Becker's on Dec. 1. The accused, 46-year-old Randall Bird, was a full-time employee of the health system working as a security guard. He had undergone a thorough pre-employment background check, as do all employees of the hospital, the spokesperson said. 

According to court documents obtained by local news station KPHO, the victim's body arrived at the morgue Oct. 22. Security guards like Mr. Bird are responsible for taking bodies of those who die at the hospital and placing them in the freezer. 

Two witnesses arrived at the morgue and found the door locked from the inside. They reported that Mr. Bird had removed his belt and it was on top of the gurney where the victim's body was. The victim's body bag had been torn open and the zipper had been broken. 

Mr. Bird had unzipped his pants, his uniform looked "messy," and he was "sweating profusely" and "acting very nervous," according to the witnesses' reports. He allegedly tried to cover the victim's body, then claimed that he had a medical episode and grabbed her body as he fell. Investigators found his DNA on her body, which had been zipped inside the body bag when it entered the morgue. 

Mr. Bird's employment was terminated by Banner Health on Oct. 24, two days after the incident, the health system told Becker's. He was interviewed by police on Oct. 25 and claimed he could not recall the incident. 

On Nov. 28, he was taken into custody and booked on five counts of crime against a dead person. 

When Becker's asked for specific precautions Banner Health is taking to prevent a situation like this from occurring again, the spokesperson replied, "We have robust, multi-layered protocols that follow industry best practices, including controlled access to certain areas. We will continue to identify if there are any additional measures that we can implement in the future to further safeguard our patients and team members."

The health system also shared the following statement with Becker's

"We are saddened and appalled by the alleged actions of an individual at Banner University Medical Center Phoenix that resulted in his arrest on November 28, 2023.

"Recently, Banner team members identified and reported concerning behavior of an employee in the hospital morgue. Banner initiated an internal investigation, filed a report with law enforcement, and terminated the employee.

"Banner Health has and remains committed to high standards that require each of our team members to treat every​one, at every stage of life, with compassion, dignity, and respect. We are grateful for the work of the Phoenix Police Department in the investigation and handling of this matter, and we will continue to cooperate with law enforcement."

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