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46-Year-Old Former Owner Of Colorado Funeral Home Is Sentenced To 20 Years In Jail For Selling Body Parts

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A woman is handcuffed

In Colorado, a former director of a funeral home was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for dissecting the bodies of a woman and was charged with selling the body parts without her clients’ permission.

The former director was Megan Hess, 46-year-old, on Tuesday she was sentenced for the scheme after pleading guilty to fraud back in July.

According to court records, the former funeral director’s 69-year-old mother, Shirley Koch, was also implicated in the scheme. Koch has pleaded guilty to fraud and was given 15 years in prison. The duties that she reportedly included cutting up the bodies to prepare them for sale.

Federal agents are targeting Hess Koch and her mother after they were included in a 2016-2018 Reuters investigative series into the unregulated sale of the client’s body parts in the US. People who worked there with the former funeral director that the women were illegally dismembering bodies.

The director reportedly told clients that their loved ones had been already cremated and charged the clients worth $1,000 for service, but the truth was they were chopping up the bodies and selling their parts for extra profit.

The families of the deceased would receive ashes containing refuse ash from trash cans and the remains of other corpses mixed, according to prosecutors.

Former Funeral Home Director Used Their Funeral Home For Stealing Bodies

According to a court filing, prosecutor Tim Neff said that Hess and Koch used their funeral home at times to essentially steal bodies and the body parts of the deceased using fraudulent and falsified donor forms. Hess and Koch’s conduct caused an immense amount of emotional pain for the families.

According to court records, US District Judge Christine Arguello called the case the most emotionally exhausting case they have ever experienced on the bench. The judge added that it’s concerning to the court that defendant Hess declines to assume any responsibility for her conduct.

The mother of Hess, Ms. Koch did accept that the thing she did was wrong and offered an apology to the families of victims and the court for her horrible actions.

The trial did include the testimonies of 26 victims whose loved ones had been dismembered by the former director and her mother.

Hess had cut up the mother of one of her victims, Erin Smith, and sold the dead woman’s body parts including her shoulders, knees, and feet.

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The victim told the court that their sweet mother, they cruelly dismembered her. They don’t even have a name for a crime this heinous.

According to Reuters, even though organ harvesting and sales are illegal in the US, there are no laws banning the sale of other body parts, like spines, heads, arms, and legs, as long as those are used for educational purposes or study.

Hess Koch did not break the law by selling the body parts but rather broke the law by lying to the victims about the services she was providing.