Megan Hess Gets 20 Years For Selling Body Parts Out Of Funeral Home

Megan Hess

Megan Hess was the owner of a funeral home in Colorado and apparently she would take body parts from her deceased clients and sell them. Now Megan Hess is going to spend the next twenty years in prison for a bizarre crime. According to court documents Megan Hess would carve up the corpses and then sell the body parts without the knowledge of the families. Seems she was also shipping the body parts around the country which is highly illegal. Along with Megan Hess her 69 year old mother Shirley Koch was helping by carving up the corpses. The authorities believe the amount of victims is over 550 bodies.

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A Colorado funeral home operator accused of illegally selling body parts and giving clients fake ashes was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday by a federal court judge.

Megan Hess received the maximum sentence after pleading guilty to mail fraud in November under a plea agreement in which other charges against her were dropped, federal prosecutors said.

U.S. authorities said that on dozens of occasions, Hess and her mother, Shirley Koch, who also pleaded guilty to mail fraud, transferred bodies or body parts to third parties for research without families’ knowledge.

U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello in Grand Junction also sentenced Koch on Tuesday to 15 years in prison. Arguello sentenced the pair after victims testified about the pain they’d suffered under the scheme.

Hess, 48, and Koch, 69, operated the Sunset Mesa Funeral Home in the western city of Montrose. They were arrested in 2020 and charged with six counts of mail fraud and three counts of illegal transportation of hazardous materials.

A grand jury indictment said that from 2010 through 2018, Hess and Koch offered to cremate bodies and provide the remains to families at a cost of $1,000 or more, but many of the cremations never occurred.

Hess created a nonprofit organization in 2009 called Sunset Mesa Funeral Foundation as a body-broker service doing business as Donor Services, authorities said.

On dozens of occasions, Hess and Koch transferred bodies or body parts to third parties for research without families’ knowledge, according to the U.S. Justice Department. The transfers were done through Sunset Mesa Funeral Foundation and Donor Services and families were given ashes that were not those of their loved ones, authorities said.

Megan Hess and Koch also shipped bodies and body parts that tested positive for, or belonged to people who died from, infectious diseases including HIV and Hepatitis B and C, despite certifying to buyers that the remains were disease-free, authorities said.

Hess’ attorney, Ashley Petrey, told the court Tuesday Hess was motivated by a desire to advance medical research

Assistant Unites States Attorney Tim Neff scoffed at the argument.

“Eight years of repeated conduct of this nature is all the court needs to know about her history and character,” Neff said.

Koch said during the sentencing hearing, “I acknowledge my guilt and take responsibility for my actions. I’m very sorry for harm I caused you and your families.”

Megan Hess declined to address the court.

A victim restitution hearing was scheduled for March.

CBS Colorado previously reported that state regulators had received complaints of wrongdoing at the facility but state law doesn’t allow them to enter a funeral home unless there are criminal charges.

Representatives Matt Soper and Dylan Roberts said they planned to change that.

“One thing that I heard over and over from the families is it was like a second death,” Soper told the station.

He said Colorado funeral home directors are the least regulated in the country.

“It just kind of hits your gut,” Soper said. “You can’t believe that body brokering, selling body parts, chopping up body parts, giving people concrete, they’re not things you hear about in the United States of America.

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