According to TimCast, a mother and daughter who ran a Colorado funeral home were sentenced after pleading guilty to charges related to selling body parts.
Megan Hess was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment for her former ownership of Sunset Mesa Funeral Home, Montrose, Colorado. Shirley Koch, her mother, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in one of the most bizarre criminal cases in recent times. Under a plea deal, they had already admitted to one count each of mail fraud and aiding and abetting.
A Department of Justice press release stated that the mother and her daughter “recovered body pieces from, or otherwise prepared whole bodies of hundreds of deceased decedents for body brokerage services.”
U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan said that he hoped the sentences would bring some peace to the victim’s families as they grieve. He also echoed the sentiments expressed by other officials who claimed the actions were motivated by greed.
Leonard Carollo, FBI Denver Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, stated that the women degraded the bodies and family members of the victims without their knowledge or consent to make them profitable.
He added that “these two criminals continued their atrocities over years, showing no remorse nor contrition even after being exposed.”
A 2020 DOJ press release revealed that the two would offer cremation services for $1,000, with the remains being returned to the family. However, some cremations never took place.
In at least 12 instances, the convicted women started a non-profit and sold “bodies or parts to third parties.” Hess and Koch sold remains beyond what was allowed by the families in the rare instances when they were willing to donate.
Hess and Koch would send bodies of people who had died from “infectious disease, including Hepatitis B and C and HIV,” after they certified to buyers that the remains were free of any diseases.
It was announced in 2022 that a documentary film was being made about the crimes. The film was renamed “Cremains Unknown”.