Most people who use social payment platforms know better than to put things like “so much drugs” or “sex last night” in the memo section of their transactions on apps like PayPal and Venmo, or else risk getting their accounts banned or worse. The people buying and selling body parts from a Harvard Medical School morgue learned that lesson when their payment app memos showed up in a federal indictment.
On Wednesday, a federal grand jury indicted five people—Cedric Lodge, former morgue manager for the Anatomical Gifts Program at Harvard Medical School, his wife Denise Lodge, and two co-conspirators, Katrina Maclean Joshua Taylor—for charges of conspiracy to "profit from the interstate shipment, purchase, and sale of stolen human remains," according to court documents. While working at the morgue, Lodge allegedly stole parts of cadavers donated to the school, often by the deceased's kin, to sell them to collectors, and even let Maclean and Taylor into the morgue to peruse the bodies and parts and choose what they wanted to buy.According to the indictment, from September 2018 to July 2021, Taylor transferred 39 electronic payments to a PayPal account operated by Lodge, totaling $37,355.56, in payment for human remains he’s stolen. One of the transactions, for $1,000, came with the memo “head number 7.” Another said, “braiiiiiins.”Lodge allegedly sold body parts, including heads, brains, faces, and skin, to Maclean for her to sell to other buyers or in her oddities shop in Massachusetts, called Kat’s Creepy Creations. A sixth person, Jeremy Pauley, was also charged with conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods. “Some crimes defy understanding,” United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam said in a press release. “The theft and trafficking of human remains strikes at the very essence of what makes us human. It is particularly egregious that so many of the victims here volunteered to allow their remains to be used to educate medical professionals and advance the interests of science and healing.”