A bodysnatching ring probe has led to the arrest of the prestigious Harvard Medical School's [HMS] morgue manager.
Prosecutors allege that Cedric Lodge, who managed the morgue for Harvard’s Anatomical Gifts Programme, stole body parts that had been donated to medical science and sold them on.
Lodge, 55, would take the body parts — such as heads, brains, skin and bones — to his home in Goffstown, New Hampshire, before posting them to buyers
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Court papers name Lodge and his wife Denise, 63, as well as Katrina Maclean, 44, of Salem, Massachusetts; Joshua Taylor, 46, of West Lawn, Pennsylvania; and Mathew Lampi, 52, of East Bethel, Minnesota. All of them have been charged with conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods.
Maclean and Taylor are alleged to have then re-sold the body parts to Jeremy Pauley, 41, who is also accused of buying remains that Candace Chapman Scott stole from the mortuary and crematorium where she worked in Little Rock, Arkansas.
According to a police report, Pauley and Lampi bought and sold body parts from each other over an extended period of time , with payments reaching a total value of over $100,000 (£78,000).
The human remains were sold via Facebook, prosecutors say.
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In 2021, Maclean sent a consignment of human faces to Pauley and “engaged his services to tan the skin to create leather”, according to the New York Times.
Maclean reportedly runs an online store called Kat’s Creepy Creations which sells “creepy dolls, oddities” and “bone art”.
HMS deans George Daley and Edward Hundert said Lodge’s activities were “morally reprehensible.”
“We are appalled to learn that something so disturbing could happen on our campus — a community dedicated to healing and serving others,” they said in a statement.
“The reported incidents are a betrayal of HMS 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.”
The scheme, which is believed to be part of a larger black market in human remains, had reportedly been running for five years, from 2018 to 2022.
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“Some crimes defy understanding,” said US attorney Gerard M Karam.
“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.”
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