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As it happenedended1687008758

Woman whose father’s remains were trafficked by Harvard morgue staff says she was ‘going to throw up’

Cedric Lodge allegedly stole ‘heads, brains, skin and bones’ from cadavers donated to school

Gustaf Kilander
Saturday 17 June 2023 14:32 BST
Related video: Harvard Morgue Manager Was Selling Body Parts

A Harvard Medical School morgue manager and his wife are among five people who have been charged with stealing and selling human remains.

Cedric Lodge, who was fired on 6 May, allegedly stole “heads, brains, skin and bones” from cadavers that were donated to the school, federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania said on Wednesday.

He and his wife Denise sold the body parts to buyers in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, sending them in the post, according to the indictment. In one case, the buyer allegedly intended to tan skin into leather.

The scheme, which is part of a larger black market, is alleged to have gone on from 2018 to 2022.

Mr Lodge, who was hired by Harvard in Boston, Massachusetts in 1995, allegedly sometimes allowed potential buyers into the morgue to choose which body parts they wanted.

After the horrifying allegations emerged, family members who donated their loved ones’ bodies to medical research spoke of their horror.

“We were just disgusted,” Paula Peltonovich, whose father’s remains were donated to the school, told the Boston Globe on Thursday. “Sick, like we were going to throw up.”

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Harvard morgue manager ‘sold body parts and human skin that was made into leather’

A former Harvard Medical School morgue manager and his wife were among five people who have been charged with stealing and selling human remains.

Cedric Lodge, who was fired on 6 May, allegedly stole “heads, brains, skin and bones” from cadavers that were donated to the school, federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania said on Wednesday.

He and his wife Denise sold the body parts to buyers in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts and transferred them via the postal service to clients who intended to tan skin into leather in one instance, according to the indictment.

The scheme, which is part of a larger black market, is alleged to have been running for five years, from 2018 to 2022.

Mr Lodge, who was hired by Harvard in Boston, Massachusetts in 1995, allegedly allowed potential buyers into the school’s morgue to choose what parts to buy at times.

Read more:

Harvard morgue manager ‘sold body parts and human skin that was made into leather’

Cedric Lodge allegedly stole ‘heads, brains, skin and bones’ from cadavers that were donated to the school, federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania said on Wednesday

Shweta Sharma15 June 2023 13:41
1686833729

Harvard Medical School morgue manager, 4 others indicted in theft, sale of human remains

A former manager at the Harvard Medical School morgue, his wife and three other people have been indicted in the theft and sale of human body parts, federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania announced Wednesday.

Cedric Lodge, 55, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, stole dissected portions of cadavers that were donated to the school in the scheme that stretched from 2018 to early 2023, according to court documents. The body parts were taken without the school’s knowledge or permission, authorities said, adding that the school has cooperated with the investigation.

Lodge sometimes took the body parts — which included heads, brains, skin and bones — back to his home where he lived with his wife, Denise, 63, and some remains were sent to buyers through the mail, authorities said. Lodge also allegedly allowed buyers to come to the morgue to pick what remains they wanted to buy.

Read more:

Harvard Medical School morgue manager, 4 others indicted in theft, sale of human remains

A former manager at the Harvard Medical School morgue, his wife and three other people have been indicted in the theft and sale of human body parts

AP15 June 2023 13:55
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‘Some crimes defy understanding'

Mr Lodge sometimes took dissected body parts back to his home in Goffstown, New Hampshire, before transporting them.

Bodies are donated to the Harvard Medical School under the “Anatomical Gifts Program” and are to be used for education, teaching or research purposes.

After the school finishes using cadavers, they are usually cremated and the ashes are returned to the family or buried in a cemetery.

“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.”

Shweta Sharma15 June 2023 14:15
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‘An abhorrent betrayal'

Bodies donated to Harvard Medical School are used for education, teaching or research purposes. Once they are no longer needed, the cadavers are usually cremated and the ashes are returned to the donor’s family or buried in a cemetery.

In a message posted on the school’s website entitled “An abhorrent betrayal,” deans George Daley and Edward Hundert called the matter “morally reprehensible.” They said Lodge was fired May 6.

“We are appalled to learn that something so disturbing could happen on our campus — a community dedicated to healing and serving others,” the deans wrote. “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.”

AP15 June 2023 14:30
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Suspects charged with conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods

The indictment charges the Lodges and three others — Katrina Maclean, 44, of Salem, Massachusetts; Joshua Taylor, 46, of West Lawn, Pennsylvania; and Mathew Lampi, 52, of East Bethel, Minnesota — with conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods. It was not known Wednesday if any of the defendants had a lawyer who could comment on their behalf.

According to prosecutors, the defendants were part of a nationwide network of people who bought and sold remains stolen from the school and an Arkansas mortuary. The Lodges allegedly sold remains to Maclean, Taylor, and others in arrangements made through telephone calls and social media websites.

Taylor sometimes transported stolen remains back to Pennsylvania, authorities said, while other times the Lodges would mail remains to him and others. Maclean and Taylor resold the stolen remains for profit, authorities said.

AP15 June 2023 14:50
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Suspects exchanged more than $100,000 in online payments, prosecutors say

Denise and Cedric Lodge both made their initial court appearances Wednesday in federal court in Concord, New Hampshire, and were each released on personal recognizance bail. They declined to comment as they left the courthouse.

Two other people have been charged in the case.

Jeremy Pauley, age 41, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, allegedly bought some remains from Candace Chapman Scott, of Little Rock, Arkansas, who allegedly stole them from a mortuary where she worked. Authorities have said Scott stole body parts from cadavers she was supposed to have cremated, noting many of the bodies had been donated to and used for research and educational purposes by a medical school in Arkansas.

Jeremy Pauley, age 41, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, allegedly bought some remains from Candace Chapman Scott
Jeremy Pauley, age 41, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, allegedly bought some remains from Candace Chapman Scott (East Pennsboro Township Police Department)

Pauley allegedly sold many of the stolen remains to other people, including individuals, including Lampi. Pauley and Lampi bought and sold from each other over an extended period of time and exchanged more than $100,000 in online payments, authorities said.

Scott and Pauley have both pleaded not guilty.

AP15 June 2023 15:10
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Suspect shipped human skin and ‘engaged services to tan the skin to create leather'

A statement from the Harvard Medical School’s deans on Wednesday, titled “An abhorrent betrayal”, said federal authorities had accused Mr Lodge of “having engaged in activities that are morally reprehensible”.

Katrina Maclean of Salem, who owns a store called Kat’s Creepy Creations, Joshua Taylor of West Lawn, Mathew Lampi of East Bethel, Minnesota and the Lodges were charged with conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods.

Jeremy Pauley of Pennsylvania and Candace Chapman Scott of Arkansas were previously indicted.

Jeremy Pauley of Pennsylvania is accused of tanning human skin into leather
Jeremy Pauley of Pennsylvania is accused of tanning human skin into leather (East Pennsboro Township Police Department)

Ms Scott allegedly stole parts of cadavers from Harvard where she worked and sold the human remains that were supposed to be cremated.

This included the corpses of two stillborn babies supposed to have been cremated and returned to their families, the charging document said.

In 2021, Ms Maclean shipped human skin to Mr Pauley and “engaged his services to tan the skin to create leather”, an indictment said, according to the New York Times. It was reportedly dissected faces she purchased for $600.

Ms Maclean runs a store called Kat’s Creepy Creations which advertises “creepy dolls, oddities” and “bone art” on social media accounts. The accounts reveal she specialises in up-cycling dolls into gothic and horror novelties.

Shweta Sharma15 June 2023 15:30
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PayPal description states ‘head number 7'

Harvard Medical School deans George Daley and Edward Hundert said they were “appalled” that something so disturbing happened on the campus of a community dedicated to healing and serving others.

“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 statement said.

The charging document included a grim reference to a PayPal description of a payment of $1,000 that allegedly read “head number 7”.

The four defendants in the case face a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment on charges of conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods.

Shweta Sharma15 June 2023 16:00
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Niece says she feels ‘sick’ after learning Harvard morgue worker accused of selling human remains

A niece who handed her aunt’s body to the Harvard Medical School has said that she feels “sick” after federal prosecutors have alleged that morgue staff sold body parts for profit.

Sarah Hill had an easy decision to make after the passing of her aunt Christine Eppich in March 2021 from pancreatic cancer. Ms Eppich had made clear that she wanted her body donated to Harvard for research and education.

“She was my favourite aunt. She worked with special needs children and adults and everyone loved Christine,” Ms Hill told Boston 25 News.

Ms Hill said Ms Eppich had already made arrangements before her passing to have her remains handed over to the Harvard Anatomical programme. The family is now concerned about what could have happened to Ms Eppich’s remains following the allegations that morgue staff was selling body parts.

“It’s been a frantic 24 hours. I received Christine’s remains back this fall after not having them for two years,” Ms Hill told the local TV station. “You know you give your loved one to a program like Harvard and you think that everything will be done properly. And that people would never profit from something like this.”

Read more:

Niece says she feels ‘sick’ after Harvard morgue worker accused of selling bodies

‘We as family members gave her body to Harvard thinking that she was in the best hands possible’

Gustaf Kilander15 June 2023 16:30
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‘We as family members gave her body to Harvard thinking that she was in the best hands possible'

The former manager at the medical school’s morgue, Cedric Lodge, 55, his wife Denise Lodge, 63, and Kat’s Creepy Creations owner Katrina Maclean, 44, all face allegations that they sold body parts that were supposed to be used for research by the school. The crimes spanned several states, the allegations claim.

“Christine wanted other people to benefit from her passing so that she could be studied. So that the doctors of the future or tomorrow could study her body and find not only a cure for pancreatic cancer but for some other disease,” Ms Hill told Boston 25 News. “And we as family members gave her body to Harvard thinking that she was in the best hands possible.”

Legal filings state that some of the body parts were sold via Facebook and some transactions were processed through PayPal, with shipments being made by US Postal Service mail.

Gustaf Kilander15 June 2023 17:00

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