According to a federal indictment, a former morgue manager at Harvard Medical School is accused of stealing, selling, and transporting human body parts.
The former manager, Cedric Lodge, 55, and his wife, Denise Lodge, 63, both from Goffstown, New Hampshire, along with Katrina Maclean, 44, and owner of Kat's Creepy Creations, plus two other people were charged with conspiracy and interstate transportation of stolen property by a federal grand jury in Pennsylvania, according to the prosecution.
Based on authorities, a sixth defendant, Jeremy Pauley, 41, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, was accused separately. According to the prosecution, Candace Chapman Scott, from Little Rock, Arkansas, was the seventh and previously charged in Arkansas.
"Some crimes defy understanding."- Gerard M. Karam, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
Karam continues that the theft and trafficking of humans remain to threaten humanity itself. The fact that so many victims here chose to have their remains used to train medical personnel and progress science and healing is particularly heinous. He says they want to bring some justice for all of these victims with the help of these accusations. Officials from the university described Lodge's actions as "an abhorrent betrayal."
The medical school at Harvard is freely given human remains for educative reasons. Prosecutors stated in court records that when the medical school is done using the remains, they are usually cremated and either returned to the donor's family or interred at a cemetery in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.
Prosecutors claim that between early March 2023 and 2018, the Lodges allegedly took, marketed, and transferred the remains, sometimes using the U.S. Postal Service. According to the indictment, they are accused of contacting customers via cell phone calls and social media.
According to the indictment, Maclean reportedly paid Cedric Lodge $600 for two dismembered faces in October 2020. The indictment also claims that Cedric Lodge allegedly permitted Maclean access to the Harvard Medical School mortuary so she could decide what was still available for purchase.
The indictment added that Maclean is also suspected of selling stolen body parts to different customers in other states, including reportedly selling human skin to a guy in Pennsylvania who tanned it to make leather.
"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," writes Harvard Medical School Deans George Q. Daley and Edward M. Hundert in a letter to the district.
Per Harvard University administrators, they are "appalled to learn that something so disturbing could happen on [their] campus — 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."
"We are so very sorry for the pain this news will cause for our anatomical donors' families and loved ones, and HMS pledges to engage with them during this deeply distressing time."
Harvard says they will examine data in collaboration with federal authorities to identify whose donated remains were harmed. The U.S. attorney's office will continue to try to find the victims and get in touch with their relatives.
The deans conclude: "We owe it to ourselves, our community, our profession, and our patients and their loved ones to ensure that HMS is worthy of the donors who have entrusted their bodies to us for the advancement of medical education and research. There is nothing more sacred and worthy of our attention and respect."
- Harvard Medical School. Messages from the Dean
- ABC News. Harvard Medical School morgue manager accused of stealing, selling human remains