A Kentucky man was arrested after an FBI investigation led agents to discover dozens of human skulls and spinal cords “decorating” his apartment.
The case has been linked by authorities to the nationwide Harvard morgue trafficking scheme, in which a network of individuals were allegedly involved in trafficking human remains stolen from Harvard Medical School’s morgue.
FBI agents filed a federal criminal complaint and executed a search warrant at the Mount Washington home of a man, identified as 39-year-old James Nott, and have accused him of selling human remains and for illegally possessing a firearm.
The agents said they found about 40 human skulls, spinal cords, femurs and hip bones in Nott’s apartment, along with a Harvard Medical School bag.
According to the complaint, the FBI agents asked Nott if anyone else was in the house before entering, to which he replied: “Only my dead friends.”
The agents found human remains placed decoratively around his furniture and one found wrapped in a headscarf, while another was on Nott’s bed.
Authorities said they reviewed Nott’s Facebook profile and messages and found he had bought human remains online using the alias "William Burke”.
The Facebook page includes dealings of human remains as recently as June 2023, according to the documents.
According to the complaint, he exchanged messages with Jeremy Pauley, 40, from Pennsylvania who was charged in the Harvard morgue case for selling human remains. The two allegedly exchanged messages about selling and buying body parts.
The body parts found in Nott’s possession, however, are not believed to be from the Harvard morgue, according to an initial investigation, but he allegedly tried to sell them to someone connected to the case, reported HuffPost.
Nott sent photos and videos of human remains to Mr Pauley and said “these will be here soon.. not claimed yet” in one of the alleged text message exchanges.
“Yeah some of these prices are fucking garbage out there. I don’t mind paying up a little for shop stock,” Mr Pauley allegedly replied. “Makes things look good. How much total for the couple and the last video you sent plus the spines?”
During the search, FBI agents said they found a handgun and AK-47 and arrested Nott for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Nott was convicted of possession of an unregistered destructive device and possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of marijuana in 2011.
Last month, a network was uncovered of half a dozen people involved in the ghoulish case of trafficking of human remains stolen from Harvard Medical School.
At least six people, including the former manager of the Harvard Medical School morgue, Cedric Lodge, and his wife were charged with trafficking human remains last month.
“Some crimes defy understanding,” said US attorney Gerard M Karam about the case.
“The theft and trafficking of human remains strikes at the very essence of what makes us human.”