Funeral Home Owner Makes GRUESOME Confession
(TruthandLiberty.com) – Every year, thousands of Americans donate their bodies to science, hoping they might contribute to medical breakthroughs long after they’re gone. Many donors might not realize they could be contributing to a massive money-making enterprise in a heavily unregulated human body market. In Colorado, one funeral home owner defrauded nearly a dozen families after taking their money, not providing the full service, and selling their loved one’s body parts for profit.
Dissecting Bodies and Selling Them Without Permission
Federal law prohibits selling tendons, kidneys, and hearts because doctors use them in transplants. Yet, everything else appears to be fair game. There are few state or federal regulations, and anyone can dissect a human body and sell parts.
Megan Hess and her mother owned the Sunset Mesa funeral home in Montrose, Colorado. Next door, in 2009, the two started a non-profit called Sunset Mesa Funeral Foundation. Hess said the purpose of the non-profit was to connect donated bodies to medical research. By themselves, there was nothing unethical or illegal about the two businesses… until Hess allegedly began defrauding customers, according to prosecutors.
In 2020, police arrested the daughter and mother after a grand jury indicted them for multiple law violations. Reuters reported Hess allegedly charged families $1,000 to cremate their loved ones. However, she didn’t cremate them. Instead, the funeral director mixed ashes from other cremations and gave the remains to people expecting the remains of their loved ones. She tried to pass off concrete mix as a person’s ashes in one case.
Additionally, the FBI discovered Hess falsified body-donor consent forms. In 2018, Reuters noted the funeral director even extracted gold teeth from one corpse and sold them for $40,000. Making matters worse, she targeted low-income families who struggled to make payments. Hess made families feel she was genuinely helping them.
So, instead of cremating the bodies, Hess sold heads, spines, arms, and legs as part of a body-broker service.
Body Harvesting May Be a Common Practice
With no federal laws and few states regulating the sale of most human body parts, the act may be more common than many people know. Few rules mean unscrupulous funeral home directors who mistreat bodies face few consequences. Still, proponents of the practice say donated bodies play a vital part in medical education, training, and research.
Surgeons say it’s impossible to train properly on a dummy, and computer simulations can’t replicate the feel of a real body or the emotions of working on a human. Medical research depends on donated body parts to create new surgical instruments and develop medicines to treat diseases. Yet, should the system allow body brokers to operate anonymously or without accountability?
Hess initially pleaded not guilty to all charges, but officials expect Hess to change her pleas of innocence to guilty on July 12. Prosecutors are recommending a 12 to 15-year sentence for her crimes.
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