Harvard morgue manager accused of trafficking stolen human remains online

Four individuals, including Harvard Medical School’s morgue manager, Cedric Lodge, have been accused of trafficking stolen human remains. Lodge allegedly took body parts, such as “heads, brains, skin and bones,” from corpses donated to Harvard University’s medical school and sold them online. His wife, Denise, is also among the accused, having sold the body parts to buyers in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The illicit operation reportedly took place from 2018 to 2021.

Prosecutors claim that Lodge used his position as the coordinator of Harvard Medical School’s “Anatomical Gifts Program” to dismember cadavers that were donated for medical research purposes. Medical students at the university use these donated bodies for studying and practising medical procedures. Once the school has finished utilising the corpses, they are generally cremated, and the remains either returned to the families or buried in the university’s medical cemetery. Nonetheless, Lodge and his wife are accused of selling and shipping body parts from the donated cadavers.

According to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office, “At times, Cedric Lodge allowed [others] to enter the morgue at Harvard Medical School and examine cadavers to choose what to purchase.” The other two individuals charged in the case are Katrina Maclean, from Salem, Massachusetts, and Joshua Taylor, from West Lawn, Pennsylvania, who are accused of purchasing the body parts.

In October 2020, Maclean reportedly bought dissected faces for US$600 (£473) with the intent to have them turned into leather. Maclean owns a shop named Kat’s Creepy Creations, where she specialises in turning dolls into gothic-themed horror novelties. It remains uncertain if the cadaver parts were used in her creations. The indictment suggests that she stored and sold human remains at her store.

Taylor is accused of making 39 electronic payments to Denise Lodge for stolen body parts over a period of four years, amounting to over US$37,000 (£29,226). A PayPal memo for one US$1,000 (£790) purchase included the grisly notation, “head number 7.”

Some crimes defy understanding,” commented United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam. “The theft and trafficking of human remains strikes at the very essence of what makes us human.”

Both Cedric and Denise Lodge refused to respond to reporters’ inquiries following their initial appearance at a New Hampshire federal courthouse. All four defendants are currently facing charges including conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods. If found guilty, each individual could face up to 15 years in prison.

World News

Chris Hollingsworth

Chris studied journalism in the US and worked there for a few years before moving to Thailand in 2021, just as he thought Covid was coming to an end - sadly more lockdowns ensued as he came out of his 14 days of isolation! He now combines his passion for writing and journalism to cover US and global news for The Thaiger.

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