A funeral home director selling body parts in Montrose, Colorado was convicted and sentenced last week, along with her mother who helped.
Conviction for a Funeral Home Director Selling Body Parts
In 2020, 46-year-old Megan Hess of Montrose, Colorado, and her mother, 69-year-old Shirley Koch were arrested, convicted, and charged for illegally transporting hazardous materials and mail fraud, according to ABC News.
However, that isn’t the worst of it. It was found the funeral home director selling body parts without the families’ consent. The mother-daughter duo was reportedly working together to cut up the bodies that were supposed to be cremated, selling them, and sending them to research facilities to make some extra cash.
“Without knowledge or consent, the women disrespected the wishes of the grieving victims and degraded the bodies of their family members to sell them for profit,” Leonard Carollo, FBI Denver Acting Special Agent in Charge said of the funeral home director selling body parts. “These two criminals continued in their atrocities for years, showing no remorse or contrition even after they were exposed. Nothing can guarantee solace for the victims or repair the damage done, but perhaps this sentence can mark the end of a horrible chapter in their lives.”
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According to the grand jury indictment, this happened for eight years, from 2010 to 2018. The funeral home director selling body parts charged $1,000 to families who wanted their deceased family members’ bodies cremated, and instead of cremation, the two women cut up the bodies and illegally sold them to research.
While the use of deceased body parts for research is not uncommon, it is often focused on skin samples or tumors and the families are involved in the decision. This was not the case with this mother and daughter in Montrose, Colorado.
“These two women preyed on vulnerable victims who turned to them in a time of grief and sadness,” said Carollo. “But instead of offering guidance, these greedy women betrayed the trust of hundreds of victims and mutilated their loved ones.”
On January 4, 2023 in Grand Junction, Colorado, a conviction and sentencing was given to the funeral home director selling body parts. Investigators found that not only were they illegally selling body parts, but they certified to buyers that the body parts were free of disease, when in reality Hess sent parts infected with diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.