A Harvard Medical School morgue official and six other people allegedly stole human remains from mortuaries and sold them for profit.
Cedric Lodge, 55, headed the morgue of the anatomical donation program at the prestigious Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts. From 2018 to 2022, Lodge stole organs and other parts of corpses that were donated for medical research and education before their scheduled cremations, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Pennsylvania alleged on Wednesday.
Lodge sometimes took the stolen remains from Boston to his home in Goffstown, New Hampshire, and he and his wife Denise Lodge, 63, sold them to Katrina Maclean, 44, Joshua Taylor, 46, and others , according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The morgue manager is also accused of letting Maclean and Taylor into the Harvard school morgue to examine the corpses and decide what they wanted to buy.
Cedric did a combination of personally transporting and shipping the remains to Taylor and people in other states, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
“Some crimes defy belief,” said U.S. attorney Gerard 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 victims here have volunteered to allow their remains to be used to educate medical professionals and advance the interests of science and healing.”
Maclean and Taylor allegedly resold the remains for a profit to Jeremy Pauley, 41, who is also accused of buying the remains that Candace Chapman Scott stole from her employer, a morgue and crematorium in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Among the remains Scott allegedly stole were the corpses of two stillborn babies who were to be cremated and returned to their families, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Pauley allegedly sold stolen leftovers he bought from others, including 52-year-old Matthew Lampi. Pauley and Lampi sold and bought from each other and exchanged more than $100,000 in online payments, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“The defendants breached the trust of the deceased and their families in the name of greed,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jacqueline Maguire.
“While today’s charges cannot undo the unfathomable pain this heinous crime has caused, the FBI will continue to work tirelessly to see justice served.”
Lodges ; Maclean of Salem, Mass.; Taylor of West Lawn, Pennsylvania; Pauley of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania; Scott of Little Rock, Arkansas; and Lampi of East Bethel, Minnesota, were indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy and interstate transportation of stolen property. Additionally, Pauley was indicted by criminal intelligence.
Under federal law, the maximum penalty is 15 years in prison.
Using U.S. mail to facilitate the theft and shipment of human remains is a federal crime and the Postal Inspection Service “will do everything in its power to stop it,” said Christopher Nielsen, the supervising inspector. Philadelphia Division.
“Stealing the remains of loved ones from families is an unconscionable act,” Nielsen said, “and confounds our collective sense of decency.”
The US Attorney’s Office is continuing its efforts to identify the victims and contact their families.
Anyone who believes a family member may have been affected is urged to contact the Victims and Witnesses Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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