Harvard morgue manager sold stolen body parts: federal claim

By Lily Hackett June 14, 2023

Body parts stolen from Harvard Medical School morgue manager, two face charges of trafficking body parts in a scheme lasting four years.

Federal investigators disclosed a shocking case involving stolen body parts at Harvard Medical School. Morgue manager Cedric Lodge and his wife Denise have been accused of masterminding a body part trafficking scheme from 2018 to 2022. According to authorities, the duo pilfered donated body parts from the school's morgue for personal gain, while enabling potential buyers to handpick the remains they desired. Repeat buyers Katrina MacLean and Joshua Taylor have also been implicated in the case.

U.S. Attorney Gerard M. Karam was stunned by the crime, stating that 'the theft and trafficking of human remains strikes at the very essence of what makes us human.' The stolen body parts—including heads, brains, skin, and bones—had been donated to the institution for educational purposes. However, the Lodges allegedly exploited these donations for their business, granting potential buyers tours of the morgue to choose the body parts they wanted.

Cedric Lodge reportedly ferried the illicit remains around 60 miles from the morgue to his Goffstown, New Hampshire home before shipping them to buyers such as MacLean and Taylor. Investigators found that Taylor paid Denise Lodge over $37,000 over three years for various body parts—once even sending a $200 PayPal payment marked with the memo 'braiiiiiins.'

MacLean and Taylor not only purchased the remains, but allegedly resold them as well. MacLean owned a store called Kat's Creepy Creations in Peabody, Massachusetts, while Taylor is accused of selling to Pennsylvania-resident Jeremy Pauley. Authorities noted that Pauley paid close to $9,000 to MacLean and $40,000 to Taylor for numerous body parts. Pauley has not been named as a defendant in the indictment, leading to speculation that he may have already negotiated a plea deal. In 2021, he faced arrest for acquiring stolen body parts from an Arkansas mortuary.