They have been described as samples, evidence and material, but to the families affected they are much more than that.
The body parts and tissues of dead patients, that have been stored after post-mortems without the knowledge of family members, belong to loved ones.
They may have been tagged, labelled, filed away and forgotten, but they are part of a whole person for those grieving great loss.
Something has gone terribly wrong, and the full extent of this issue is still not clear.
While Cleveland Police have confirmed they are talking to 13 families, Northumbria Police are yet to reveal how many they have contacted.
Some of the tissue samples being stored date back 20 years. We could be talking three figures overall.
Our sympathies are with the families of those who have lost loved ones.
To find out part of their family has been removed and left in storage for years must be devastating.
The audit that uncovered these findings has opened up emotional wounds for the families involved.
We share their outrage.
There are many questions that need answering.
Why were the samples taken without informing the families? What procedures have been bypassed? What assurances are there that this will never happen again?
We are glad that the police are appreciating the impact this investigation is having on families and have trained officers offering help and support.
This is a distressing time for all involved, but serious questions need to be answered.
An inquiry into what went so terribly wrong is not an option, it’s a must.