A Former Medical School Morgue Manager Has Been Charged With Stealing And Selling Body Parts

Stock photo of morgue trays after ex-Harvard Medical School morgue manager charged with stealing and selling human remains
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A former Harvard Medical School morgue manager, his wife and three other people have been charged with stealing and selling human remains.

In a statement, the United States Attorney’s Office alleged 55-year-old Cedric Lodge stole dissected parts of cadavers that were donated to Harvard Medical School’s Anatomical Gifts Program for medical research and education.

He and his wife, 63-year-old Denise Lodge, allegedly sold the body parts — which included heads, brains, skin and bones — to buyers in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, with some remains sent through the mail.

According to federal prosecutor Gerard M. Karam, Lodge allegedly allowed buyers to visit the morgue and decide which remains they wanted to buy.

In a statement shared to Harvard Medical School’s website entitled “An abhorrent betrayal”, deans George Daley and Edward Hundert confirmed Lodge had been fired on May 6.

“We are appalled to learn that something so disturbing could happen on our campus — a community dedicated to healing and serving others,” the deans said.

“The reported incidents are a betrayal of HMS and, most importantly, each of the individuals who altruistically chose to will their bodies to HMS through the Anatomical Gift Program to advance medical education and research.”

Karam said the scheme, which is part of a wider black market operation, is alleged to have run from 2018 to 2022.

The Lodges, as well as 44-year-old Katrina Maclean, 46-year-old Joshua Taylor and 52-year-old Mathew Lampi have been charged with conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods.

Karam said the Lodges allegedly sold the stolen body parts to Maclean and Taylor, who then resold the remains for profit. One of their clients, 41-year-old Jeremy Pauley, is alleged to have also bought stolen body parts from Candace Chapman Scott.

It is alleged that Scott stole human remains from the Arkansas mortuary and crematorium she worked at. She is accused of stealing body parts from cadavers she was supposed to have cremated, many of which had been donated to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences for medical research and education.

This included the bodies of two stillborn babies which were supposed to have been cremated and returned to their families, authorities alleged.

“Some crimes defy understanding,” Karam said.

“The theft and trafficking of human remains strikes at the very essence of what makes us human. It is particularly egregious that so many of the victims here volunteered to allow their remains to be used to educate medical professionals and advance the interests of science and healing. For them and their families to be taken advantage of in the name of profit is appalling.

“With these charges, we are seeking to secure some measure of justice for all these victims.”

The defendants face a maximum penalty of 15 years behind bars.

Image credit: iStock / DjMiko