By M.P. Pellicer | Stranger Than Fiction Stories
Donating your body to science, doesn't guarantee that it will be used for this purpose. Instead it might become merchandise in a national network of human remains traffickers.
Not even giving your body to a university can keep it safe. On Wednesday, June 14, 2023, Cedric Lodge the morgue manager who worked at Harvard Medical School since 1995, was indicted. He is facing federal changes of selling heads, brains, skin and other body parts. These were taken from cadavers donated to Harvard Medical School for research and education. Harvard fired him on May 6, 2023.
He allegedly took the dissected body parts to his home in New Hampshire, 60 miles away, where he along with his wife Denise sold them to traffickers across the United States from 2018 through August 16, 2022. This was during the time he worked in the morgue which received cadavers as part of the Anatomical Gift Program. Harvard insists no other employees are facing charges.
Lodge allowed buyers access to the morgue to make their purchase, or shipped them out, in some cases through the United States Postal Service.
His wife, Denise worked at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services as a data analyst until 2014.
Pictures on Denise’s Facebook profile show a woman with a shaven head with what appears to be a satanic motif tattooed on it. It is not clear if the woman with the tattoo is Denise or someone else.
Buyers have also been named in the indictment. They are: Joshua Taylor, of West Lawn, Pennsylvania and Katrina MacLean, of Salem, Massachusetts, who owned and operated a business called Kat's Creepy Creations in Peabody, Massachusetts.
MacLean resold some of the specimens to buyers in other states. One of them is Jeremy Pauley, who is executive director and curator at The Memento Mori Museum, according to his Facebook. He owns The Grand Wunderkammer - which sells "odd and unusual" items to the public and to museum exhibits.
Pauley was the one who provided the name of Cedric Lodge as one of his suppliers.
Pauley, 41, has previous arrests. In August, 2022 he was charged with "abuse of a corpse, receiving stolen property and dealing in the proceeds of unlawful activities." This involved Candace Chapman Scott who worked at a crematorium who was partnered with the University of Arkansas. She is accused of selling the corpses of two stillborn babies meant to be cremated, and selling them instead to Pauley. He is known to purchase pelvis "antiques" and "very old skulls" belonging to children.
Prior to this in October 2020, MacLean sold skin and two dissected faces for $600. Pauley tanned the skin making it into leather and sold it back to MacLean.
In the indictment, Pauley paid $8,800 to MacLean, and a total of $40,049 to Taylor, all through PayPal.
Pauley has over 5,000 followers on Facebook.
Harvard is now left trying to explain to the families of the deceased, who in many cases donated the body of their loved ones, that the corpses were desecrated and not studied.
Since then family members have sued HMS Morgue, along with Cedric Lodge and his supervisors.
In August 2023, Jeremy Pauley who was accused of illegally buying and selling human remains went to court on four charges levied against him. He initially told police he legally bought 3 skeletons and other body parts, but this was before police found multiple buckets in his basement full of human remains. He was charged for buying: "Half of a head, a whole head missing a skull cap, three brains with a skull cap, a heart, aliver, a lung, two kidneys, a female pelvis, a piece of skin with a nipple and four hands for $4,000."
The transaction took place over Facebook Marketplace, and sent through USPS.
The illegal sales took place after Pauley's ex-wife, Sarah Pauley went into the basement after he moved out, and found the gallon buckets with the horrible remains.
A few weeks earlier, police had visited the house after an anonymous tip of “possible human body parts being sold on Facebook,” but they did not have a search warrant and did not visit the basement. She feared Pauley would now try to frame her for what she had discovered.
This investigation led to Cedric Lodge at Harvard Medical School's morgue, Candace Chapman Scott the mortuary worker in Arkansas, Katrina Maclean and Joshua Taylor.
By the summer of 2022, Pauley had become violent with his wife who once posed with specimens he was trying to sell. She told police he threatened to kill her, and cut her into pieces if she ever left him. This information was part of the of temporary restraining order she sought for her protection. He said he wasn't afraid of doing prison time, since he did a stretch in 2003 for stabbing his girlfriend.
Oddity collectors buy and sell objects of interest having to do with natural history, taxidermy, antiquities, quack medicine and the paranormal.
Pauley has agreed to a plea deal and is now a cooperating witness. These felony counts could get him a total of 15 years in prison plus probation and a fine. He is out on a $50K bond and is set to return to court in October, 2023. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for November.
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