Funeral Directors Get Prison Time for Selling Body Parts

Funeral Directors Get Prison Time for Selling Body Parts

( – Funeral directors, also known as morticians or undertakers, are responsible for managing the details of a funeral. This job requires them to get up close and personal with the remains of a deceased person. It also requires the family members to invest a huge amount of trust in these individuals for them to perform the job properly. In one shocking story out of Colorado, the management of a funeral home committed one of the most egregious violations of that trust imaginable by selling the body parts of some of their deceased clients.

In 2018, Reuters published an article about an investigation it conducted into the body parts industry in the United States. At the time, the industry was very lightly regulated and involved a lot of secrecy. One of the businesses Reuters focused on was the Donor Services body parts business in Montrose, Colorado. Sunset Mesa funeral home was located in the same building as the body parts company, and the two entities had the same owners, Megan Hess (now 46) and her mother, Shirley Koch (now 69).

The findings of Reuters’ probe made federal authorities sit up and take notice. As a result, they decided to investigate what was going on with the two businesses. They found that Hess and Koch were illegally harvesting body parts from their funeral business and selling them. They weren’t telling family members of the deceased what they were doing, and they forged documentation to indicate the bodies had belonged to willing donors.

Authorities arrested both women, and they eventually pleaded guilty to various charges related to their unlawful conduct. Hess received a sentence of 20 years in prison, the maximum possible in her case, while Koch got 15 years for her part in the scam.

Do you think the punishment fits the crime in this case?

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