Mortician sentenced to 20 years in prison for dismembering corpses and selling body parts

The defendant, who pleaded guilty, robbed body parts from corpses and transported them by mail or commercial flights.

On Tuesday, a Colorado judge sentenced a funeral home owner to 20 years in prison for dismembering corpses and selling their organs without family members' permission. The defendant, who was assisted by his mother, pleaded guilty in June 2022.

Megan Hess started the macabre business in 2010. Her Sunset Mesa funeral home was located in Montrose, Colo. and worked in conjunction with a body parts entity called Donor Services. From there, she cut up the bodies and transported their various parts via mail or commercial flights, according to a Justice Department investigation.

Hess, 46, worked with her mother, Shirley Koch, 69, who also pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the criminal act and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Both were in charge of selling cremation packages to the relatives of the dead, then used this front to dismember the bodies and sell their parts on the black market.

Family members deceived

The investigation revealed that, on multiple occasions, Hess and Koch delivered ashes to families which were composed of the remains of several corpses. They also would fill the urns with concrete.

Further, it was also discovered that the convicted women misrepresented the state of the corpses, selling pieces of dead bodies with contagious diseases such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B or HIV.