Funeral Home Director Who Illegally Sold Body Parts Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison
A woman in Colorado has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for illegally selling body parts.
Megan Hess, a former Colorado funeral home director, chopped up over 500 corpses and sold the body parts for scientific research without consent, according to Reuters.
Hess' mother, Shirley Koch, was also reportedly sentenced to 15 years in jail for helping her daughter dismember the bodies. The pair illegally sold body parts from an estimated 560 corpses between 2010 and 2018.
"Hess and Koch used their funeral home at times to essentially steal bodies and body parts using fraudulent and forged donor forms. Hess and Koch's conduct caused immense emotional pain for the families and next of kin," prosecutor Tim Neff said, according to Reuters.
Hess owned and operated both Sunset Mesa, a funeral home, and Donor Services, a body parts business, in Montrose, Colo.
According to the investigation, Hess routinely charged families roughly $1,000 to cremate their loved ones. Over 200 families received cremated ashes they believed were from a deceased loved one but were actually from different cadavers.
Hess pleaded guilty to fraud in July, 2022, and was sentenced to the maximum sentence under law.
"This is the most emotionally draining case I have ever experienced on the bench. It's concerning to the court that defendant Hess refuses to assume any responsibility for her conduct," U.S. district judge Christine M. Arguello reportedly said during Tuesday's (Jan. 3) sentencing hearing in Grand Junction, Colo.
Twenty-six people spoke at the sentencing hearing to share their pain and heartache.
"Our sweet mother, they dismembered her. We don't even have a name for a crime this heinous," one victim declared.