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Continued: Buttocks injections killing, maiming some women who seek cheap alternative to plastic surgery

  • Article by: HOLBROOK MOHR , Associated Press
  • Last update: August 5, 2013 - 6:20 PM

There have been more than 14,000 responses, with new ones almost every day. Some of the responses are horror stories. More of them go like this one, posted recently: "Does anyone know of a good injector in Los Angeles County?"

Or this one on July 10, "Safe reliable injector will be in NJ the week of the 15th. Booking appointments now."

Investigators say a Georgia woman who died after getting injections in Mississippi in 2012 used the Internet to find someone to inject her.

First, she connected with an adult entertainer and hip hop model named Natasha Stewart, who goes by the moniker Pebbelz Da Model. The two met in New York, and Karima Gordon paid Stewart $200 for a referral, prosecutors say. Authorities say Gordon was told the injections would be performed by a trained medical professional.

In March 2012, Gordon drove with a friend from Atlanta to Jackson, Miss., to the home of 53-year-old Tracey Lynn Garner, also known as Morris Garner, a floral and interior decorator with no medical training. The cost was $1,500. Early in the case, authorities referred to Garner as a man, but her attorney says she had surgery to change gender.

Gordon died of blood clots in her lungs a few days later. There was so much of a "silicone-like" substance in her buttocks that it spilled onto the floor and "all over the place" when a medical examiner cut into her during the autopsy, according to an investigator's testimony from September.

Garner and Stewart, 40, are currently charged in Hinds County, Miss., with depraved-heart murder. They have pleaded not guilty. They are scheduled for trial next year.

A gag order in the case prohibits attorneys from commenting.

Garner was later charged in the 2010 death of an Alabama woman and also pleaded not guilty to that charge.

Authorities haven't said what substance Garner used, though industrial silicone has been used in other cases.

Dr. John Martin, a plastic surgeon in Coral Gables, Fla., said illicit cosmetic procedures have become common. Sometimes multiple people are injected in hotel rooms in "pumping parties."

Some people have silicone injected in their faces, where it can cause protruding, rock-hard nodules, but it's easier to treat than the large amounts injected into the buttocks. It's so difficult to remove very large amounts of silicone from the buttocks that many doctors, including Martin, won't even try.

"When you put in a large amount of silicone, it can drift. If I fill your butt with this huge amount of silicone, it can run down your leg and you have to get your leg amputated," Martin said.

It can also cause infections and blood clots. If the needles hit a blood vessel, the silicone can enter the blood stream and work its way to the lungs, Martin said.

Doctors won't perform buttocks injections, but they do offer lifts and buttocks implants. Doctors performed more than 3,700 of those legal procedures last year, generating more than $17 million, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

The average fee for a legal buttocks implant is $4,670, according the organization.

In a Florida criminal case, Shatarka Nuby paid $2,000 for injections at people's homes, according to police reports.

Nuby died on March 17, 2012, while serving a prison sentence for using fraudulent credit cards, including for professionally done breast implants.

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