At least one of the members of an alleged human body parts trafficking ring that ranged from New Hampshire to Harvard to Pennsylvania and to Arkansas has entered into a plea bargain that acknowledges the federal allegations.
Meanwhile, the family of a Granite State husband and wife who donated their bodies to help science are demanding action.
“My mom just passed away in March and she’s down there, and we want her back,” Paula Peltonovich said to WMUR9.
“Who could do something like that? What kind of person? No respect at all for the family,” Peltonovich, the victim’s daughter, added. “They need to pay.”
Jeremy Lee Pauley, 41, of Enola, Penn., who a federal “information” complaint alleges purchased all kinds of body parts from a woman who worked for a crematorium contracted to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and also tanned human skin sent to him by a Massachusetts woman named Katrina MacLean, signed the plea agreement on May 8, 2023.
The case is documented as multiple cases from federal courts in Pennsylvania and Arkansas, lending a fractured way the story is told.
But it boils down to two people who had access to human bodies that had been donated to medical schools so students could learn anatomy: Cedric Lodge, 55, of Goffstown, N.H., who worked in the Harvard Medical School morgue as part of the university’s Anatomical Gift Program; and Candace Chapman Scott of Little Rock, Ark., who worked for an unnamed crematorium business that was contracted with the University of Arkansas for Medical Services’ Anatomical Gift Program.
Cedric Lodge, who also allegedly let some of his customers into the morgue to preview his ghastly merchandise, is scheduled to be arraigned via electronic videoconferencing at federal court in Williamsport, Penn., on June 27.
The indictment against Scott came a little earlier, filed April 5 in the federal court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. But the indictment returned in federal court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania — the one the Harvard morgue employee is snagged in — shows that the Massachusetts body parts came earlier, starting in 2018.
It starts with Joshua Taylor, 46, of West Lawn, Penn., allegedly dealing online with Cedric Lodge’s wife, Denise Lodge, 63, making electronic payments totaling $37,355 for body parts Cedric Lodge allegedly stole from the school. The transactions even included memos from Taylor — like “head number 7” and “braiiiiiins.”
The heavily tattooed Pauley — whose website describes him as ” the lead preservation specialist of retired medical specimens and curator to historic remains and artifacts” for his museum, “Memento Mori — whose mugshot has graced much coverage of this ring, including Thursday’s Herald cover, entered the picture when he was allegedly contacted by Katrina Maclean, who wanted his services converting skin from a cadaver’s chest into leather.
Pauley allegedly took the job and requested more skin in lieu of financial payment.
MacLean is a Salem woman who owns “Kat’s Creepy Creations,” a Peabody shop that specializes in oddities. She herself allegedly joined in the ring in October 2020 when court docs allege she purchased two “dissected faces” from Cedric Lodge for $600.
Arkansas enters the picture when Scott sent a message to Pauley on Facebook.
“I follow your page and work and LOVE it. I’m a mortician and work at a trade serve mortuary, so we are contracted through the medical hospital here in Little Rock to cremate their cadavers when the medical students are done with them before they discard them in a cremation garden,” the feds allege that Scott wrote to him on Oct. 28, 2021.
“Just out of curiosity, would you know anyone in the market for a fully in tact (sic), embalmed brain?”
Turns out he did — the indictment in Scott’s case says that Pauley paid $1,2000 for two preserved human brains with skull caps as well as a preserved human heart. The transactions blossomed from there, with Pauley continuing to allegedly purchase items, including a transaction Scott advertised as for “2 brains, one with skullcap, 3 hearts one cut, 2 fake boobies, one large belly button piece of skin, one arm, one huge piece of skin, and one lung,” over the next five months or so.
Harvard deans George Daley, the dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and Edward Hundert, the dean for Medical Education, issued a joint statement Wednesday calling the acts of Cedric Lodge “an abhorrent betrayal.”
On Thursday, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences issued a statement saying it is “a victim of this unimaginable, appalling crime” and that they have changed to another crematorium following the charges against Scott.
“We are saddened that this happened with the remains of people who through their unselfish donations are true heroes,” wrote university spokeswoman Leslie Taylor in the statement. “Human bodies are an indispensable aid in the education of medical students, nurses and other health professions students and in research. UAMS is extremely respectful of our donors when they are here in our care.”
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