Funeral Home Director Receives 20 Years In Prison After Cutting Up Bodies And Selling The Parts

In July of 2018, a funeral director in Montrose, Colorado pleaded guilty dismembering and selling body parts of the deceased without the consent of family members. According to Insider, the accused fraudulently disposed of the bodies of 560 people within 8 years.

“Instead of offering guidance, these greedy women betrayed the trust of hundreds of victims and mutilated their loved ones,” Leonard Carollo, the FBI Denver Acting Special Agent in Charge, said in a statement.

Megan Hess, the owner of Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors, would meet with people seeking cremation services, charging them around $1,000. Instead of providing grieving families and friends with their loved one’s ashes, the 46-year-old and her mother would harvest the deceased’s body parts and sell them to body broker services. Government records state that many clients received a combination of the unsold parts of the deceased and concrete mix.

Many family members testified in court, stating that Hess’ actions caused irreparable damage. “Our sweet mother, they dismembered her,” one family member, Erin Smith, said. “We don’t even have a name for a crime this heinous.”

Selling human organs is illegal and can only be donated, but other body parts (arms, heads, and spines) can be sold to educational and research institutions. In order to accept the remains from Hess, these scientific organizations unknowingly received forged donor forms.

On Tuesday, January 3rd, over four years later, Hess was finally sentenced to 20 years in prison for fraud. Her mother, 69-year-old Shirley Koch, received 15 years for aiding and abetting the fraud.

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