Authorities in New York City are investigating whether area funeral homes have illegally plundered corpses, including the body of veteran British broadcaster and author Alistair Cooke.

Officials confirm media reports that they have been conducting a year-long investigation into the removal of body parts without the prior consent of the deceased or their relatives. One firm under suspicion is Biomedical Tissue Services, a broker that sells body parts to firms that process them for transplants, therapy and research.

The family of Mr. Cooke, who was 95 when he died two years ago, says it never agreed to donate his bones for such use.

His relatives have expressed horror that his body could have been so violated. They also say they are appalled that his bones, which were old and riddled with cancer, could have been transplanted to someone else.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.