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Everything we know about the alleged trafficking of human remains from Harvard Medical School morgue

Former Harvard Medical School morgue manager Cedric Lodge, 55, shielded his face with a printout of the indictment against him Wednesday afternoon as he walked from the federal courthouse in Concord, N.H., following his arrest on charges related to an alleged scheme to steal and sell donated body parts.Steven Porter

Cedric Lodge, the former manager of the morgue at Harvard Medical School, was arrested Wednesday on federal charges that he and several others, including his wife, engaged in a conspiracy to steal and sell human body parts that had been donated to the school for research and education.

The federal indictment alleges that Lodge, 55, spent years diverting organs and cadaver parts that had been donated to the medical school’s Anatomical Gift Program and were supposed to be cremated. He allegedly sold them to people in other states.

The Lodges, along with Katrina Maclean, 44, of Salem, Mass., were arrested Wednesday. Three other defendants face charges in Pennsylvania, and a fourth was previously indicted in Arkansas, according to the FBI’s Boston office.

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Here are key takeaways about the case from the federal indictment.

Who are the parties allegedly involved?

Prosecutors named several individuals who were allegedly involved in the conspiracy.

  • Cedric Lodge was the manager of the morgue at HMS. He was terminated from his job on May 6, according to the university.
  • Denise Lodge, 63, of Goffstown, N.H., who is the wife of Cedric Lodge.
  • Katrina Maclean was the owner of the studio and store Kat’s Creepy Creations in Peabody.
  • Joshua Taylor, 46, of West Lawn, Pa., who is accused of taking stolen items to his home.
  • Jeremy Pauley, 41, of Bloomsburg, Pa., who is accused of purchasing remains that had originated at Harvard and from a mortuary in Little Rock, Ark.
  • Candace Chapman Scott worked for the mortuary in Little Rock, where her duties included the cremation of cadavers that came from the University of Arkansas for Medical Services. Prosecutors allege that Scott stole body parts from the cadavers and sold and shipped them to Pauley. The stolen remains included bones, skulls, skin, dissected faces and heads, and internal organs including brains and lungs.
  • Matthew Lampi, 52, of East Bethel, Minn. Prosecutors allege he and Pauley bought and sold from each other and exchanged more than $100,000 in online payments.

When do prosecutors say the conspiracy took place?

From 2018 until March, the defendants — Cedric Lodge, Maclean, Taylor, and Denise Lodge — conspired with Pauley and others to unlawfully transport stolen human remains from Boston to New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. Prosecutors said they did so knowing the remains had been stolen and were aiming to profit from the shipment and sale of the stolen human remains, prosecutors alleged.

How is the Harvard Medical School morgue operated?

Human cadavers used to teach students at HMS are voluntarily donated by people who reach an agreement with the school through the Anatomical Gifts Program, according to the indictment. When the school is done using the cadavers, the remains are typically cremated and are either returned to the donor’s family or laid to rest at a cemetery.

The medical school maintains a morgue at the school where the cadavers are stored until they are used for education or research purposes, and again when the school is finished using them, according to the indictment. The identities of the cadavers are documented and the school maintains a database and records associated with them. Medical school employees, including the morgue manager, confirm the identity of each cadaver before cremation. Employees are not permitted to remove, keep, or sell any human remains.

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What were the remains being trafficked?

Prosecutors said the dissected portions of the cadavers that were stolen from the morgue included heads, brains, skin, bones, and others human remains. “Some crimes defy understanding,” Gerard M. Karam, US attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “The theft and trafficking of human remains strikes at the very essence of what makes us human.”

How do prosecutors allege the conspiracy was accomplished?

As the morgue manager at Harvard Medical School, Cedric Lodge had access to the morgue and the cadavers stored inside, prosecutors said. Lodge is accused of stealing dissected portions of the cadavers without the school’s knowledge or permission. He allegedly removed those remains from the morgue and brought them to his home in New Hampshire.

Cedric Lodge and his wife allegedly communicated with other defendants, including Maclean and Taylor, on the phone and social media about buying the stolen remains, prosecutors said. The remains were sometime shipped through the US Postal Service to Pennsylvania and elsewhere, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors also said Lodge would use his access to the morgue to allow Maclean, Taylor, and others to enter and choose what remains they wanted to purchase. They would then take those remains and transport them elsewhere, prosecutors said.

How do prosecutors say Maclean and Taylor were involved?

Maclean is accused of selling the stolen remains to buyers in multiple states, including Pauley. Prosecutors said she shipped or transported the remains and also sold the remains at her store, Kat’s Creepy Creations.

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Taylor allegedly bought remains and had them shipped to him in Pennsylvania from New Hampshire, transported remains from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania, and sold and shipped remains to buyers, including Pauley, prosecutors said.

What were some of the other disturbing details laid out by prosecutors?

On multiple occasions in 2018 and 2019: Denise Lodge allegedly communicated with a person prosecutors have named “Individual 1,” who resided in Montgomery, Pa., and agreed to sell him human remains allegedly stolen by Cedric Lodge. Denise Lodge is accused of shipping the remains from Manchester, N.H., to Montgomery, Pa., in a package.

October 2020: Maclean allegedly agreed to purchase two dissected faces for $600 from Lodge, and they agreed to meet at 1 p.m. on or about Oct. 28, 2020, at the Harvard Medical School morgue to conduct the transaction, prosecutors said.

June and July 2021: Maclean is accused of shipping human skin from Massachusetts to Pauley in Pennsylvania, and engaging his services to tan the skin to create leather. On or about July 31, 2021, prosecutors said Pauley sent a photograph of the leather and Maclean allegedly agreed to provide Pauley with human skin in lieu of monetary payment. Maclean allegedly then contacted Lodge and inquired about obtaining human skin to “the dude I sent the chest piece to tan.” Prosecutors said Lodge agreed to look for skin at HMS for Maclean to send to Pauley.

August 2021: On or about Aug. 15, 2021, Pauley allegedly shipped the tanned human skin to Maclean.

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September 2021: Maclean allegedly shipped human skin on or about Sept. 20, 2021 to Pauley in payment for his services. Prosecutors said she contacted Pauley to confirm the shipment arrived because she “wanted to make sure it got to you and I don’t expect agents at my door.”

September 2018 through July 2021: Taylor allegedly transferred 39 electronic payments to the PayPal account Twiam@yahoo.com, operated by Denis Lodge, totaling $37,355.56 in payment for human remains stolen by Cedric Lodge from HMS, prosecutors said. Prosecutors gave one example of Taylor allegedly sending $1,000 to Denise Lodge on May 19, 2019, with a memo that read, “head number 7.” And on Nov. 20, 2020, Taylor allegedly sent Denise Lodge $200 with a memo that read, “braiiiiiins.”

October 2021: On or about Oct. 19, 2021, Pauley allegedly transferred $8,800 to Maclean via PayPal in payment for stolen human remains.

Pauley allegedly transferred 25 payments totaling $40,049.04 to Taylor via PayPal, including $3,500 on Apr. 1, 2021, $8,250 on Oct. 7, 2021, and $9,000 on Jan. 13, 2022.

Steven Porter and Emily Sweeney of Globe Staff contributed to this report.


Shannon Larson can be reached at shannon.larson@globe.com. Follow her @shannonlarson98.