Harvard Medical School morgue manager, Cedric Lodge, has been accused of stealing human remains donated to the institution to turn a profit.
Lodge, 55, and five others, including his wife Denise Lodge, 63, were indicted by a federal grand jury on conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods charges on Wednesday for allegedly participating in a “nationwide network” to buy and sell body parts stolen from cadavers.
As the morgue manager for the Anatomical Gifts Program at the prestigious medical school, Lodge allegedly stole organs and other remains – including heads, brains, skin, and bones – from bodies donated for scientific research before they were cremated from 2018 through 2022, according to the indictment.
Lodge would then transport the remains to his home in Goffstown, New Hampshire, where he and his wife would sell the parts to resellers Katrina Maclean, 44, Joshua Taylor, 46, and other buyers online – often transporting and shipping the remains across state lines. In some instances, Lodge allowed Maclean and Taylor into the morgue to “examine cadavers to choose what to purchase.”
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The indictment states that Taylor sent 39 electronic payments via PayPal to Denise Lodge for a total of $37,355.56 between September 2018 and July 2021, with often crude payment memos including “head number 7” and “braiiiiiins.”
After purchasing the remains, Maclean and Taylor would resell the parts for a profit. Maclean allegedly sold the parts in her store Kat’s Creepy Creations in Peabody, Massachusetts, and to frequent buyer Jeremy Pauley, 41.
Pauley also purchased remains from Candace Chapman Scott, who would steal body parts from cadavers donated to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences while she worked at a Little Rock mortuary and crematorium.
Pauley would then resell the parts to others, including Matthew Lampi, 52. Records indicate that they would often buy and sell from each other, exchanging over $100,000 in online payments.
Image credit: Photo by Steven Porter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Former Harvard Medical School morgue manager Cedric Lodge, 55, leaving the Warren B. Rudman United States Courthouse.
Denise Lodge, Maclean, Taylor, and Lampi were also indicted by a federal grand jury on conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods charges on Wednesday. Pauley was charged by means of criminal information, while Scott was previously indicted in Arkansas.
Cedric and Denise Lodge and Maclean were arrested by the FBI on Wednesday without incident, according to ABC News, while Taylor entered a not guilty plea.
Cedric was terminated from Harvard Medical School on May 6.
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In a statement, the school called the ordeal “morally reprehensible,” and stated that Lodge “acted without the knowledge or cooperation of anyone else at HMS or Harvard.” Lodge was the only one involved in the crime that was affiliated with the Ivy League school. Additionally, Harvard plans to work with investigators to find which donors may have been impacted.
United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam said the school is “also a victim here” in the indictment.
“Some crimes defy understanding,” he 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.”