UNITED STATES NEWS

An AP explainer on recent arrests in alleged human remains network

Jul 16, 2023, 6:14 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — WHAT HAPPENED?

Federal investigators discovered a human remains trade with connections to Harvard Medical School and have arrested people in several states. According to prosecutors, the defendants were part of a nationwide network of people who bought and sold remains stolen from the medical school and an Arkansas mortuary. One of those charged, 55-year-old Cedric Lodge, of New Hampshire, allegedly took dissected parts of cadavers that had been donated to Harvard in a scheme that started back in 2018, prosecutors said. Another person facing criminal charges, Katrina Maclean of Salem, Massachusetts, owned a store that sells “creations that shock the mind” with along with “creepy dolls, oddities and bone art,” according to the store’s social media page.

WHO IS FACING CHARGES?

The indictment charges Lodge; his wife, Denise; Maclean; Joshua Taylor, of West Lawn, Pennsylvania; and Mathew Lampi, of East Bethel, Minnesota, with conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods. Authorities were first clued in to the nationwide network after the arrest of Jeremy Lee Pauley, who was charged with abuse of a corpse, receiving stolen property and other state charges in Pennsylvania in July 2022. Police say Pauley allegedly tried to buy stolen human remains from an Arkansas woman for possible resale on Facebook. An FBI affidavit in a Kentucky case last week said Pauley bought hearts, brains, lungs and two fetal specimens from the Arkansas woman, who had allegedly taken them from a mortuary.

WHAT HAPPENED IN KENTUCKY?

Last week, federal officials charged a Kentucky man who had communicated with Pauley on Facebook about the sale of skulls and spines. Investigators said in an affidavit that James Nott had “40 human skulls, spinal cords, femurs, and hip bones” in his home during a search of his apartment in Mount Washington, Kentucky, on Tuesday. They found one skull wrapped in a head scarf and another on the bed where Nott slept, along with a Harvard medical school bag. During the search, an FBI agent asked Nott if anyone else was in the residence. He responded, “only my dead friends.” Nott also had several guns and ammunition in the apartment about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Louisville. Nott was charged by federal investigators with illegally possessing a firearm.

LAWS CONCERNING HUMAN REMAINS

There are no federal criminal statutes that deal with the mishandling or sale of human remains, and in most states, the sale of human remains is not illegal, said Tanya D. Marsh, a Wake Forest University law professor who has written books about cemetery and human remains law. Marsh said there is a widespread market for human remains “and it’s not expressly legal, but in a lot of states, it’s not expressly illegal either.” She calls it a “gray market.” There are laws in many states against grave robbing, but “the vast majority of states don’t have any law that has to do with human remains that haven’t been buried yet,” Marsh said.

DONATED BODIES

Medical schools like Harvard receive donated bodies after a person chooses to offer their remains upon death. After the bodies are used for research or education, some schools may offer to return the cremated remains to the family or bury them in a cemetery, Marsh said. Lodge, who was charged in the scheme, was a former manager at the Harvard Medical School morgue. He took the body parts from Harvard’s morgue without the school’s knowledge or permission, federal prosecutors said. The body parts in Pauley’s case were originally donated to the University of Arkansas for medical research. They ended up being stolen from a mortuary where they were supposed to be cremated, authorities said.

United States News

Rock Creek Forest Elementary School students exit a diesel bus before attending school, Friday, Feb...

Associated Press

Electric school buses finally make headway, but hurdles still stand

The first electric school buses in the United States began running a decade ago in three school districts in California, providing a ride that was much less noisy, smelly and dirty than the diesel buses kids and parents were used to. Yet despite the availability of the technology all these years, fewer than one percent […]

25 minutes ago

A calendar shows the month of February, including leap day, Feb. 29, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in S...

Associated Press

Have a look at the whos, whats and whens of leap year through time

NEW YORK (AP) — Leap year. It’s a delight for the calendar and math nerds among us. So how did it all begin and why? Have a look at some of the numbers, history and lore behind the (not quite) every four year phenom that adds a 29th day to February. BY THE NUMBERS The […]

10 hours ago

FILE - Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim greets supporters outside Central High School on the day of the r...

Associated Press

Fatigue and frustration as final do-over mayoral election looms in Connecticut’s largest city

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — It’s been nearly four months since a judge tossed out the results of a Democratic mayoral primary in Connecticut’s largest city due to allegations of ballot stuffing, sending voters repeatedly back to the polls and thrusting Bridgeport into an unflattering national spotlight. Many frustrated local voters say they just want it […]

10 hours ago

Homes are seen on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in the southwest Portland, Ore., suburb of Beaverton. Th...

Associated Press

A housing shortage is testing Oregon’s pioneering land use law. Lawmakers are poised to tweak it

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A severe lack of affordable housing has prompted Oregon lawmakers to consider chipping away at a 1970s law that made the state a national leader in leveraging land use policy to prevent suburban sprawl and conserve nature and agriculture. The so-called urban growth boundary, a sacred cow of Oregon’s liberal politics, […]

10 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump hugs and kisses the American flag a...

Associated Press

Trump calls himself a ‘proud political dissident’ in CPAC speech

In a CPAC speech, Trump painted an apocalyptic vision of the future if President Joe Biden wins again as the two prepare for a rematch.

14 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to the audience after spea...

Associated Press

Donald Trump wins South Carolina GOP primary, beating Nikki Haley in her home state

Trump has now swept every contest that counted for Republican delegates, with wins already in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

An AP explainer on recent arrests in alleged human remains network