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US funeral home owner jailed for selling body parts

A former Colorado funeral home owner was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison, on Tuesday, for defrauding relatives of the dead by dissecting 560 corpses and selling body parts without permission.Information Guide Nigeria

Fraud was admitted as a crime in July by Megan Hess, 46. In Montrose, Colorado, she ran a donor services organisation and a funeral home out of the same location. The length of time authorised by legislation was capped at 20 years.

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Her mother Shirley Koch, who is 69 years old, also admitted fraud and received a 15-year sentence, according to Reuters. According to prosecution documents, Koch had a key part in dismembering the bodies.

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“Hess and Koch used their funeral home at times to essentially steal bodies and body parts using fraudulent and forged donor forms,” prosecutor Tim Neff said in a court filing. 

“Hess and Koch’s conduct caused immense emotional pain for the families and next of kin.”

The federal prosecution was brought about by a 2016–2018 Reuters investigative series exposing the body part trade, which is mostly uncontrolled in the United States.

Former employees claimed to Reuters that Hess and Koch performed illegal body dismemberments, and the FBI raided the establishment a few weeks after a 2018 story was published.

Prosecutors emphasised the “macabre aspect” of Hess’ plot in their complaint, which they referred to as one of the most important body parts instances in recent US history.

“This is the most emotionally draining case I have ever experienced on the bench,” US District Judge Christine M. Arguello said during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing in Grand Junction, Colorado.JAMB portal

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“It’s concerning to the court that defendant Hess refuses to assume any responsibility for her conduct.”

Hess and Koch must be sent behind bars immediately, the judge said.

Hess’ attorney said that she has been unjustly demonised as a “witch,” “monster,” and “ghoul,” but in reality she is a “broken human being” whose actions are related to a severe brain injury she sustained at the age of 18. Hess declined to address the judge in court on Tuesday.

Koch apologised and accepted responsibility for her behaviour in front of the judge.

26 victims spoke of their shock at learning what had happened to their loved ones.

“Our sweet mother, they dismembered her,” Erin Smith said, selling her shoulders, knees and feet for profit. “We don’t even have a name for a crime this heinous.”

Tina Shanon, whose mother was dismembered against her will, told the court, “I’ve worn many masks to cover the pain. I’ll never be OK.”

In the United States, it is unlawful to sell transplantable organs such as hearts, kidneys, and tendons; they must be given. However, selling body parts such as heads, arms, and spines for use in research or education, like Hess did, is not governed by federal law.NYSC portal

Prosecutors alleged that Hess committed crimes when she cheated relatives of the deceased by lying about cremations and illegally dissecting and selling remains.

Prosecutors stated that the surgical-training companies and other businesses that purchased arms, legs, heads, and torsos from Hess were unaware that they had been unlawfully obtained.

They claim that Hess charged families up to $1,000 for cremations that never took place at her funeral parlour, and that she promised free cremations in exchange for a corpse donation.

Prosecutors alleged that she misled to over 200 families who received cremated ashes from containers containing the remains of many cadavers.JAMB Result

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Emediong Silver

Emediong Ekpe is a graduate of English. A professional Sports journalist/analyst, and a spoken word artist. He is passionate about decimating information and putting smiles on people's faces via news writing. Whatapp: 08088735884

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