Funeral Home Owner Pleads Guilty to Selling Human Body Parts
A former funeral home owner has pleaded guilty to selling body parts of humans that they were paid to cremate.
Megan Hess, former owner of Sunset Mesa funeral home, has admitted to selling body parts — “mostly” for surgical and educational purposes.
Hess and her mother, Shirley Koch, had also launched a side business called Donor Services — a “body-broker service” that specialized in selling human remains.
In a court appearance on July 5, Hess admitted to selling the remains of at least a dozen people without their families consent, after they paid her for cremation services.
According to a report from Fox News, “court records show her body dealer firm harvested heads, spines, legs and arms, and then sold them – mostly for surgical and educational purposes.”
“The indictment said that, from 2010 through 2018, Hess and Koch charged customers at least $1,000 for cremations, many of which never happened. They also offered free cremations in exchange for a body donation,” the report states. “The families received ashes from bins mixed with the remains of various cadavers, prosecutors said. One customer was given a concrete mix as an alternative to their family member’s ashes.”
A former employee also accused Hess of selling gold teeth of some of the deceased for $40,000.
In addition to all of that, Hess reportedly sold body parts from people who died of Hepatitis B and C, and HIV to buyers after claiming that they were healthy and disease-free.
In 2014, Hess wrote to a perspective buyer, “Meeting with hospice on the 4th … opening the floodgates of donors. They have four or five deaths a day. Get ready!!! … How about a deal on full embalmed spines … $950?”
Hess is currently out on bond and is not scheduled to be sentenced until January. Her attorneys have requested two years in prison, while prosecutors have requested 12-15.
The mother is scheduled to appear in court for a change of plea hearing on July 12. She had previously pleaded not guilty.
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