Members of a macabre theft ring swiped human remains from the Harvard Medical School morgue in Boston and sold the body parts to a nationwide network of buyers, officials said Wednesday.
Indictments handed up by a grand jury in Scranton, Pennsylvania, targeted morgue manager Cedric Lodge, 55, and his wife, Denise Lodge, 63, who live in Goffstown, New Hampshire.
Katrina Maclean, 44, of Salem, Massachusetts, and Joshua Taylor, 46, of West Lawn, Pennsylvania, were also indicted. Maclean owns and operates a store called Kat's Creepy Creations, officials said.
They're all accused of conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods.
"At times, Cedric Lodge allowed Maclean and Taylor to enter the morgue at Harvard Medical School and examine cadavers to choose what to purchase," federal prosecutors said in a statement. "On some occasions, Taylor transported stolen remains back to Pennsylvania. On other occasions, the Lodges shipped stolen remains to Taylor and others out of state."
Cedric Lodge "stole dissected portions of donated cadavers, including, for example, heads, brains, skin, bones, and other human remains, without the knowledge or permission of HMS," according to the indictment.
He and his wife would reach out to buyers through websites and cellphones "regarding the sales of stolen human remains," the court papers say.
The 15-page indictment doesn't go into extended detail about what the body parts were purchased for, but it does mention that Maclean shipped human skin to a man in Pennsylvania "and engaged in his services to tan the skin to create leather."
Maclean asked Cedric Lodge to supply more tissue to send to "the dude I send the chest piece to tan," according to the indictment.
From Sept. 3, 2018, to July 12, 2021, Taylor sent 39 electronic payments, for a total of $37,355.56, to a PayPal account run by Denise Lodge for human remains Cedric Lodge stole from Harvard, the indictment says.
A May 19, 2019, payment from Taylor had a memo, "head number 7," and a Nov. 20, 2020, transaction was for "braiiiiiins."
A lawyer for Taylor declined to discuss the case Wednesday afternoon. Attorneys for the Lodges and Maclean couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
"We are appalled to learn that something so disturbing could happen on our campus — a community dedicated to healing and serving others," Harvard Medical School said in a statement.
"The reported incidents are a betrayal of HMS and, most importantly, each of the individuals who altruistically chose to will their bodies to HMS through the Anatomical Gift Program to advance medical education and research," it said.