Colorado Ex-funeral Director Gets 20 Year Sentence For Selling Body Parts
Colorado ex-funeral director gets 20 year sentence for selling body parts. A former owner of a funeral home in Colorado got 20 years in prison on Tuesday (Jan 4, 2023) for stealing from the families of the dead by dissecting 560 bodies and selling body parts without permission.
In July, Megan Hess, 46, admitted guilty of fraud. Then, that Colorado ex-funeral director gets 20 year sentence for selling body parts.
In Montrose, Colorado, she ran a funeral parlor called Sunset Mesa as well as a business that dealt with body parts called Donor Services. The maximum term permitted by law was 20 years.
Shirley Koch, her mother, who is 69 years old, also admitted to fraud and received a 15-year sentence. According to court documents, Koch's primary responsibility was dismembering the victims.
Tim Neff, the prosecutor, claimed in a court document:
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Hess and Koch used their funeral home at times to essentially steal bodies and body parts using fraudulent and forged donor forms. Hess and Koch’s conduct caused immense emotional pain for the families and next of kin.
- Tim Neff
The federal prosecution was brought about by a 2016-2018 Reuters investigative series exposing the body part trade, which is mostly uncontrolled in the United States.
Former employees that Hess and Koch illegally cut up dead bodies, and a few weeks after a 2018 story came out, the FBI raided the business.
Prosecutors emphasized the "macabre aspect" of Hess' plot in their complaint, calling it one of the most significant body parts incidents in recent US history.
During the sentencing hearing on Tuesday in Grand Junction, Colorado, US district judge Christine M. Arguello stated:
This is the most emotionally draining case I have ever experienced on the bench. It’s concerning to the court that defendant Hess refuses to assume any responsibility for her conduct.
- Christine M. Arguello
Hess and Koch must be sent to prison right away, the judge said. Hess' attorney said that Hess has wrongly been demonized as a "witch," "monster," and "ghoul" when in reality she is a "broken human being" whose actions are related to a severe brain injury she sustained at the age of 18. Hess chose not to interact with the judge in court on Tuesday.
Koch apologized to the judge and accepted responsibility for her behavior. In 26 victims spoke of their horror at learning what had happened to their loved ones.
Erin Smith stated, "Our sweet mother, they dismembered her, selling her shoulders, knees, and feet for profit. We don’t even have a name for a crime this heinous."
According to Tina Shanon, whose mother was forcibly dismembered, "I’ve worn many masks to cover the pain. I’ll never be OK."
In order to be used for transplant, organs like hearts, kidneys, and tendons cannot be purchased; they must be donated. Federal law does not, however, forbid the sale of body parts like heads, arms, and spines for use in research or education, which is what Hess did.
Prosecutors said that Hess broke the law when she lied to the families of the dead about cremations and sold bodies that had been cut up without their permission.
Prosecutors said that the surgical training organizations and other businesses that bought arms, legs, heads, and torsos from Hess did not know that they had been stolen.
Prosecutors claim that Hess charged families up to $1,000 at her funeral home for cremations that never happened while also offering free cremations to others in exchange for body donations.
According to the prosecution, she misled more than 200 families who received cremated ashes from dumpsters containing various cadaver remnants.
Even though it is against the law to sell organs (they must be donated), the US has a market for the sale of corpses and body parts that is mostly unregulated.
Numerous Americans donate their corpses to science every year, but there is a shadowy industry of body brokers who sell cadavers and body parts for use in science and education.
There aren't any federal laws that regulate this, and there aren't many state laws that prohibit selling body parts after dissection.
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Prosecutors say that Kess and Koch supported this. The two also amputated heads, arms, and spines in addition to cutting out hearts, kidneys, and tendons.
Prosecutors claim that they sold them, as well as heads, torsos, and arms, to businesses that provided surgical training without disclosing the fact that they had been illegally obtained.
Hess and Koch tricked about 200 families by giving them the ashes of many bodies instead of the ashes of their loved ones who had been cremated.
The couple's funeral home employees detailed how Koch removed the gold in some bodies' crowns or fillings as part of a Reuters investigation from 2016 to 2018 that led to the federal case.
According to reports, she used the funds to pay for a trip to Disneyland. "These two women preyed on vulnerable individuals who went to them in a time of grief and sadness," said Denver FBI special agent Leonard Carollo.
But instead of giving advice, these rapacious ladies murdered their loved ones and abused the confidence of hundreds of victims.
Illegal organs sell for about $1,000 to $10,000.
Organ transplants will be simpler if the sale of organs is legalized. Each year, hundreds of lives are lost due to a lack of access to organs. In developing nations like India, there are countless clandestine organ rackets operating.
Organ trafficking is a term that is often used to describe a wide range of illegal activities, such as the illegal sale and transplantation of human organs and the illegal taking of organs from living or dead people.
Before the Indian Transplantation of Human Organs Act of 1994, which made it illegal to sell or buy human organs, this is what happened.
Colorado ex-funeral director gets 20 year sentence for selling body parts. In Colorado, a former owner of a funeral company and her mother were given prison terms for illegally selling body parts.
Between 2010 and 2018, Megan Hess, who is 46, and Shirly Koch, who is 69, cut up about 560 dead bodies and sold the parts to medical training groups that didn't know they had been stolen.
Prosecutors claimed that in other instances, entire bodies were sold. Organ donation and sale are both permitted in the US. Koch received a 15-year prison term, while Hess received a 20-year term.