A group of people have been arrested on federal charges after investigators accused them of taking part in a nationwide scheme to buy, sell and ship human remains across the country.


A group of people have been arrested and face federal charges in a scheme in which federal prosecutors accuse them of buying and selling human body parts stolen from Harvard Medical School’s morgue and an Arkansas mortuary.

Most of the body parts were taken from cadavers donated for medical research, but federal prosecutors also noted two instances in which parts were taken from the corpses of two stillborn babies at a morgue in Little Rock, Arkansas, according to a Wednesday media release.

“Some crimes defy understanding,” United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam said in a written statement. “The theft and trafficking of human remains strikes at the very essence of what makes us human. It is particularly egregious that so many of the victims here volunteered to allow their remains to be used to educate medical professionals and advance the interests of science and healing. For them and their families to be taken advantage of in the name of profit is appalling.”

Harvard morgue’s manager accused of selling parts from donated cadavers

Cedric Lodge, 55, who managed Harvard’s morgue for the medical school’s program for anatomical donations, is among those charged in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in a federal indictment released Wednesday.

Lodge and others are charged with conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods — which carries a 15-year maximum prison sentence — for offenses that the U.S. Attorney’s Office says occurred between 2018 and 2022.

Lodge is accused of stealing organs and other body parts — including heads, brains, skin and bones — from cadavers that were donated to the school’s morgue for medical research and education ahead of scheduled cremations, according to the indictment. Federal prosecutors said that Lodge often transported those stolen body parts to his residence in Goffstown, New Hampshire, where he and his wife Denise Lodge are accused of selling them.

Lodge is no longer listed on Harvard Medical School’s website as a staff member, and in a prepared statement, the school said his employment was terminated May 6.

“We are appalled to learn that something so disturbing could happen on our campus — a community dedicated to healing and serving others,” George Daley, dean of the Faculty of Medicine; and Edward Hundert, dean for Medical Education said in a joint statement. “The reported incidents are a betrayal of (the Harvard Medical School) and, most importantly, each of the individuals who altruistically chose to will their bodies to HMS through the Anatomical Gift Program to advance medical education and research.”

Among those accused of purchasing the body parts from the Lodges are Katrina Maclean, 44, of Salem, Massachusetts; and Joshua Taylor, 46, of West Lawn, Pennsylvania. Federal prosecutors said that Cedric Lodge even permitted Maclean and Taylor to enter Harvard’s morgue to examine the cadavers for themselves and select which parts they wanted to purchase.

Maclean is the owner of a store in Peabody, Massachusetts called Kat’s Creepy Creations specializing in bone art and other oddities that the FBI raided in March, according to the indictment.

Taylor is accused by prosecutors of making a total of $37,355.56 in PayPal payments to an account controlled by Denise Lodge between Sept. 3, 2018, and July 12, 2021, according to the indictment. In some case, prosecutors say Taylor would transport those stolen remains back to his home in Pennsylvania, while in other instances the Lodges used the United States Postal Service to ship stolen human remains to him and other buyers, according to the indictment.

Investigators determined that Maclean and Taylor would then resell the illicitly purchased remains for profit.

Two other people were also charged in the investigation: 52-year-old Mathew Lampi of East Bethel, Minnesota and 41-year-old Jeremy Pauley of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. A seventh person, Candace Chapman Scott, of Little Rock, Arkansas, was indicted previously.

Feds: Arkansas woman sold remains, including from stillborn babies

Pauley was among those who prosecutors allege purchased remains from Maclean and Taylor.

Pauley is also accused of purchasing stolen human remains from Scott, who reportedly stole remains from a mortuary and crematorium where she worked in Little Rock, Arkansas, according to the media release.

The parts that Scott is accused of stealing were mostly from cadavers she was supposed to have cremated, many of which had been donated for educational purposes by an area medical school, according to prosecutors. However, prosecutors also say she took body parts from the corpses of two stillborn babies who were supposed to be cremated and returned as cremains to their families.

Prosecutors said that Scott sold and shipped the remains to Pauley, who is accused of further selling the purchased body parts to others. One of those buyers was named by prosecutors as Lampi.

Prosecutors allege that Lampi and Pauley bought and sold human remains from each other over an extended period of time and exchanged over $100,000 in online payments.

Investigators search for victims and their families

The investigation required the collaboration of multiple agencies, including the FBI, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the East Pennsboro Township Police Department, and the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“The defendants violated the trust of the deceased and their families all in the name of greed,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Jacqueline Maguire said in a prepared statement. “While today’s charges cannot undo the unfathomable pain this heinous crime has caused, the FBI will continue to work tirelessly to see that justice is served.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is working to identify and contact victims and families of the victims. Those who believe they or someone they know may have been victimized in the scheme can contact the office’s Victim and Witness Unit at usapam-victim.information@usdoj.gov or by calling 717-614-4249.

Eric Lagatta covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach him at elagatta@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @EricLagatta.


Source link

(This article is generated through the syndicated feed sources, Financetin doesn’t own any part of this article)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *