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Harvard morgue manager charged with stealing and selling human remains
Featured Image Credit: NBC Boston/ Sergi Reboredo / Alamy

Harvard morgue manager charged with stealing and selling human remains

If convicted, the man could face 15 years in prison

The manager of a morgue at Harvard University's Medical School has been charged with stealing and selling human remains.

Cedric Lodge, 55, his wife Denise Lodge, 63, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, and two others have been indicted by a federal grand jury.

According to the indictment, Harvard students often practice medical procedures on donated bodies.

It’s said that when the lesson finishes, the corpses are often cremated.

The ashes are then either sent back to the person’s family, or they are 'buried in the university’s medical cemetery'.

Prosecutors have claimed that Lodge used his position as morgue manager, and the head of the ‘Anatomical Gifts Program’, to traffic 'heads, brains, skin and bones' that were donated for medical and scientific purposes.

According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Lodge would let others 'enter the morgue at Harvard Medical School and examine cadavers to choose what to purchase'.

Cedric Lodge is accused of stealing and selling human remains.
NBC Boston

The charges allege the scheme took place between 2018 and 2021.

Katrina Maclean, 44, of Salem Massachusetts and Joshua Taylor, 46, of West Lawn, Pennsylvania, allegedly bought the stolen remains.

As per the charging statement, in October 2020, Katrina purchased dissected faces for $699 (£473) that she 'intended to have tanned into leather'.

According to prosecutors, Taylor sometimes drove back to Pennsylvania with the stolen goods. On other occasions, the Lodges posted the remains to Taylor and others out of state.

Taylor allegedly made 39 electronic payments to the Lodges over the course of four years.

The indictment stated that one particular payment for $1,000 (£790) was made via PayPal on May 19, 2019, and was allegedly referenced as ‘head number 7’.

If all four defendants are convicted, they could face up to 15 years in prison each for conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods.

Cedric Lodge ran the Anatomical Gifts Program at Harvard Medical School.
Sergi Reboredo / Alamy

In a statement Christopher Nielsen, the Inspector Charge of the Philadelphia Division of the Postal Inspection Service said: “Today, the United States Attorney has announced charges against several individuals who used the United States mail to ship stolen human remains.

“Robbing families of the remains of their loved ones is an unconscionable act and confounds our collective sense of decency."

United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam said: “Some crimes defy understanding.

"The theft and trafficking of human remains strikes at the very essence of what makes us human.”

He then stated that 'is particularly egregious' that so many of the 'victims' who volunteered their remains to be 'used to educate medical professionals' and help students to advance the 'interests of science and healing'.

Karam added: “For them and their families to be taken advantage of in the name of profit is appalling. With these charges, we are seeking to secure some measure of justice for all these victims.”

Topics: Science, Crime, True crime, US News