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Schumacher Lab Sealed for Five Years

Families Must Wait Until 2019 to Learn What Happened in the Canal Street Basement

By RICK FILARDI  |  Aug 15, 2014

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Abandoned room with chair

Canal Street Laboratory Five individuals died in a downtown Manhattan basement. The common area is pictured; access to the laboratory barred.

Family members of the five victims of Dr. Kevin Schumacher’s illegal experiments must wait until until January of 2019 to access the site of the doctor’s Canal Street laboratory. Judge Jack Halperin ruled today that the  Canal Street facility must remain closed to private citizens for the next five years.


Lawyers for Schumacher’s estate successfully argued that the laboratory likely contained HIPAA-protected medical information about Schumacher’s other patients, including several minors, and that any search of the property by private citizens would unlawfully reveal personal information about a child. Judge Halperin agreed to seal the facility, in the basement of 59 Canal Street, until 2019, when the youngest of the patients will turn 18.

The Canal Street basement became infamous six months ago when the New York City Police Department found Schumacher's body in the laboratory. Schumacher had telephoned the police, confessing to performing illegal medical experiments on all five individuals, who he referred to as “explorers.” Schumacher was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound by police; several hours later the laboratory was sealed by the NYPD. The NYPD has thus far refused to release any additional information concerning the contents of the laboratory. However they have confirmed that the two officers originally sent to search the space -- Chase McVeety and Stephanie Fegali -- have been put on indefinite medical leave.


The NYPD’s silence has prompted several of the victims’ associates to call for private investigations. However, following Schumacher’s suicide, Schumacher’s legal team immediately moved to stop all private investigation into his experiments.


“It’s b***s***,” said Vincent Dean, husband of Samantha Travers, one of Schumacher’s explorers. “Complete b***s***. The only people who know what’s going on are those f***ing police and f***ing lawyers, and they don’t want nobody else to know.” Travers was the oldest of the five victims.

obituary photo (Elizabeth)_edited.jpg

Elizabeth Friend This native of Berkeley, California was 29 when she died. . Alan Hart

Elliot Friend, brother of another victim, Elizabeth Friend, described his sister as an overachiever with a love of life. An architect and a marathon runner, she had been diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) in late 2012.


“I believe Schumacher preyed upon my sister's fighting spirit to coerce her into extreme risks. My sister fit a particular profile, a profile Schumacher exploited to fund and perform hideously unethical experiments,” said Friend.


Another victim, Johnny Balogh, also had a recent ALS diagnosis. Like most members of the group, he was in his 20s, part of an extremely small percentage of the population stricken by "young-onset" ALS.


“My big brother was a fighter,” said Quinn Balogh, his younger brother. “He had vowed to fight until his dying day. And maybe this was how he chose to do it… and that man used that against him. That man killed my brother, as sure as the disease did.”

The families of the other two victims, Omi Johnson and Michael Farkle, declined to comment for this article.


Should Judge Halperin’s decision stand, none of the victims’ families will be able to learn more  about Schumacher’s experiments until the courts unseal his laboratory in 2019. As Schumacher kept all his notes and recordings in the Canal Street laboratory , all evidence of what occurred the night of January 15th  will for now remain a mystery.


“We just want to know what happened,” said Friend outside the courtroom. “We just want to know.”

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