In a bizarre case that defies easy description, six people are under federal indictment for selling human body parts stolen from cadavers at Harvard Medical School and an Arkansas mortuary.
Brains, skin, and bones were allegedly procured through the prestigious facility. One of the defendants operates a business called Kat’s Creepy Creations in Peabody, Massachusetts.
Five of the six were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods. Another was hit with separate charges and a seventh was previously indicted in Arkansas.
The case centers around 55-year-old Cedric Lodge of Goffstown, New Hampshire. Allegations are that between 2018 and 2022 and while morgue manager for the Anatomical Gifts Program at Harvard, he was involved in the theft of organs and other body parts donated for research.
The thefts allegedly took place before scheduled cremations of cadavers. Lodge and his wife, 63-year-old Denise Lodge, are accused of selling the donated and stolen remains to others.
Investigators said that the deals were made through phone conversations and social media platforms.
Morgue manager at Harvard Medical School charged with stealing and selling human remains, faces up to 15 years in prison. pic.twitter.com/6S6wKRtZC6
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) June 15, 2023
Two of those charged, 44-year-old Katrina Maclean of Salem, Massachusetts, and 46-year-old Joshua Taylor of West Lawn, Pennsylvania, were allegedly allowed access to the Harvard facility.
While there, authorities believe they were permitted to examine the cadavers and choose parts they wanted to buy. Taylor allegedly took the purchased organs and other parts to Pennsylvania, while the Lodge couple shipped other remains to Taylor and different recipients.
U.S. Attorney Gerard Karam said in a statement that “some crimes defy understanding.”
He declared that “the theft and trafficking of human remains strikes at the very essence of what makes us human.” Karam noted that many of the victims dedicated their remains to advancing education and science, and instead they were desecrated.
Karam described Harvard Medical School as a victim in the scheme and said officials are cooperating with the federal investigation.
The school is providing detailed records to investigators in an attempt to determine which donors were affected by the illegal activity.
When Lodge was fired, Harvard Medical deans wrote an explanation to the university community titled, “An abhorrent betrayal.” The school has apologized to families and loved ones and offered a counseling hotline.