Former funeral home owner pleads guilty to selling body parts of deceased without getting families to consent


GRAND JUNCTION, CO – According to several reports, a former funeral home owner in the state of Colorado has pleaded guilty to defrauding multiple families by selling body parts of the deceased family members without getting consent from their living relatives.

On Tuesday, July 5th, Megan Hess admitted in federal court to defrauding a least a dozen families who had paid to have their late loved ones cremated. Hess used to operate the Sunset Mesa Funeral Home in Montrose while at the same time running her own human body parts business called Donor Services.

According to court records, however, instead of cremating the bodies, she harvested heads, spines, arms and legs and then sold them for profit or as she claims, “surgical and educational purposes.”

Hess, who had previously pleaded not guilty, is set to be sentenced in January. Prosecutors are asking for 12 to 15 years of jail time, while her defense attorney has requested s lighter sentence of two years. Hess has been out on bond since her arrest in 2020.

Reportedly, in 2009, Hess and her mother, Shirley Koch, launched a “nonprofit” donor services organization called Sunset Mesa Funeral Foundation, which was a “body-broker service” that operated out of the funeral home.

According to court records, the mother-daughter duo charged customers $1,000 or more for cremations that never occurred and to maximize profits, they targeted the poor and vulnerable families. They also offered free cremations in exchange for a body donation.

Unfortunately, the entire business was a scam and many families received ashes mixed with the remains of different cadavers, with one client stating they received a concrete mix instead of the remains of their loved one.

According to court documents, federal investigators found that Hess forged dozens of body donor consent forms.

A former employee also accused Hess of earning $40,000 by extracting and selling the gold teeth of some of the deceased as part of the scheme. Hess allegedly wrote to a prospective body-part buyer back in 2014:

“Meeting with hospice on the 4th … opening the floodgates of donors. They have four or five deaths a day. Get ready!!! … How about a deal on full embalmed spines … $950?”

The two women also shipped bodies and body parts that had either tested positive for, or belonged to people who died from infectious diseases, including Hepatitis B and C, and HIV. Authorities stated that this was done despite certifying to buyers that the bodies did not contain a disease.

A change of plea hearing for the mother, Koch, is scheduled for July 12th. Koch had also previously pleaded not guilty.

As it stands, while it is illegal to sell organs such as hearts, kidneys, and tendons for transplant in the United States, the sale of cadavers and body parts for use in research or education is not regulated by federal law.

In a separate incident, 31 decomposing bodies were found at an Indiana funeral home, prompting a police investigation.

Police in Jeffersonville, Indiana, found 31 bodies at Lankford Funeral Home along with post-cremation remains of 16 people. An air conditioning unit at the funeral home allegedly stopped working and as of this writing, police do not suspect any criminal wrongdoing in the incident.

An unnamed source stated that the owner of the funeral home “got behind on processing bodies.” Even though no one has been charged with a crime, Jeffersonville Police, the Clark County Sheriff’s Department, and the Indiana State Police are investigating the matter.

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Huh? As gun violence sky rockets in gun-controlled Chicago, Pritzker signs law so government can cover funeral expenses

May 23rd, 2022

CHICAGO, IL- As gun violence continues to sky rocket in Chicago, authorities reported that over the weekend of May 20-May 22, one person was killed and nearly 23 others were wounded in shootings across the city.

Instead of being proactive in fighting gun violence, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is using tax dollars to fund the funerals of those who have become victims of this violent crime. According to the latest news:

“The Mychal Moultry Jr. Funeral and Burial Assistance Act was signed into law Tuesday. It provides up to $10,000 in burial funds for families who lose children under 17 to gun violence.”

Moultry Jr. was just four years old when he was killed while getting his hair braided inside an apartment in Woodlawn.

On Wednesday, May 18th, Pritzker signed a new state law that bans “ghost guns,” making it the first state in the midwest to block the sale, possession, transfer, and manufacture of ghost guns. Ghost guns are untraceable, unregistered, and require no background checks to buy.

The legislation was spearheaded by State Sen. Jacqueline Collins and State Rep. Kambium Buckner. Collins said in a statement:

“Firearm violence is a leading cause of death for children and teenagers in Illinois and among black Illinoisans, the rate is disproportionately high.”

Buckner said that cracking down on gun violence is especially critical to keeping young people safe, noting 16-year-old Seandell Holliday who was fatally shot in Downtown. Buckner added:

“These dangerous weapons are not entering into our communities, they have entered and they are affecting children at a young age and making all of us much less safe. This law will help prevent those guns from getting into the hands of the wrong people — whether they be kids, whether they be criminals who shoot up our streets and recruit our children into violent activities.”

According to one report:

“As homicides in Chicago show no sign of stopping, the demand for funerals is now bigger than the demand for baby formula. Just like a war-torn country, Chicago has now introduced a curfew. It is safer for the kids to be on the streets of Ukraine or Afghanistan than take a walk in the South Side of Chicago.”

Reportedly, community leaders, violence prevention organizers, and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office have praised the new legislation. Delphine Cherry, founder of the Tender Youth Foundation and a survivor of gun violence, lost two children to gun violence 20 years apart.

She said that the ghost gun law is a step toward ending “senseless and preventable gun violence that destroys too many families and communities.” She added:

“While no law will stop gun violence, stopping the sale of deadly, untraceable guns will save many lives and stop many others from experiencing the pain I have to live through every day.”

Even with the passing of the legislation, without increasing police presence or moving the National Guard in to help, Chicago seems to be taking a “compassionate” route of making it cheaper for parents to bury their children.

The governor thinks he is being proactive, but in reality the money being earmarked for funerals of young children could be utilized in ways to make the streets safer so that kids are not victims of gun violence in the first place.

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Defund the police fallout: Chicago-based security firm to help put unarmed guards in city to stop crime

May 5th, 2022

CHAMPAIGN, IL — A Chicago based security firm will be cashing in on a police shortage in Champagne, Illinois.

The Champagne, Illinois Police Department is experiencing a massive staffing shortage. As a result, they had to cut their school resource officer program. Nearly $17, 475.50 per week has been spent to fill the void of the school resource officers.



The security needs are so dire that the City Council is expected to pass a proposal for a contract to put security in the downtown area.

The hired security will not carry weapons but would be permitted “less than lethal options.” These include pepper spray or batons.

If this passes, five security officers will become a regular presence in the downtown area.



Champaign police spokesman Joe Lamberson said,

“The intent of the RFP (request for proposals) is to establish staffing at the times that downtown Champaign is at its most active, with plans for up to four security staff in place from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

There is also the potential to hire additional staff on an infrequent basis for special events expected to draw large crowds.”

Lamberson noted that the decision to seek additional assistance was mostly from appeals by local businesses.

He said,

“These have included minor offenses, such as loud music and alcohol consumption in city parking lots and the public way, along with a handful of more concerning events along the fringe of the downtown area in recent months.”



Business owners have complained about the uptick in violence in the area, noting that they feel abandoned and unable to do anything about what’s happening around them.

Deputy Chief Coon said,

“Keep in mind these are security officers, they’re not sworn personnel.

And like I mentioned before, their job is to deal with order and maintenance issues, keep small things small, to alert us to anything that looks like it’s going to be problematic.

And obviously, we’ll respond in a timely manner.”

According to Champaign police, last July, there were 33 “unserviceable positions,” and 21 vacancies, and 12 officers were unavailable. Now that number is down to 27.

Deputy Chief Coon said that adding continuous patrols has become a necessity downtown.

At one time, the police were able to offer directed patrols and overtime details. However, the police cannot now due to staffing shortages.

If the proposal passes, the security officers will be wearing marked uniforms and use body cameras. The potential contract will last until the end of the year.

The hope is that the police department will be able to increase its hiring efforts and will not have to pursue further assistance.

In an attempt to help with hiring, a marketing plan is underway to recruit law enforcement from out of state. Currently, a few recruits have been found because of these efforts.


Defunded’ Minneapolis to bring in outside help to deal with surge in violence amid police shortage

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has asked for outside agencies to help police the cities following a weekend of bloodshed and violence in a city grappling with a shortage of officers and increasing violent crime.

At a news conference Sunday, the Mayor said that reinforcements for the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) are “”really, really critical”:

“Safety in our city has to be a priority.”

Minneapolis has lost numerous officers to resignations and early retirements in response to defunding efforts in the city following the May 2020 death of George Floyd.

Two months after Floyd’s death, 200 police officers out of the roughly 850 officers serving in the MPD filed paperwork to leave their jobs with the department.

About 20% of the department, or around 150 officers, filed for disability claims for PTSD following months of violent protests and rioting in Minneapolis.


Ron Meuser, Jr. from the law firm Meuser, Yackley and Rowland told reporters previously:

“While law enforcement is a high-stress career, the last two months in Minneapolis have pushed many officers to their breaking point.”

In response to protests by groups like Black Lives Matter, the Minneapolis city council voted to cut $8 million in funding from the police department in December, and some argued to completely close the department in the city of 420,000 people.


The $8 million cut from the police budget was to be used for crime prevention programs, mental health crisis response teams and other initiatives.

Due to a shortage of police officers following the 200 departures, the Minneapolis City Council approved a request for $6.4 million to be used to hire new recruits.

Adding to the manpower issues in the city, Minnesota reported a “25-year-low” in new recruits join police agencies across the state.

Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate blamed the recruiting problems on low morale:

“Police work is essential work, service-driven, and my fear is that the current environment is just so toxic that those quality, idealistic, service-driven people that we desperately need to fill these vacancy roles in law enforcement are going to look elsewhere.”


The shortage of officers comes as violence spirals out of control.  The Mayor’s call for outside help followed a weekend of violence that killed a least four people, including a college senior who was out celebrating graduation.

The weekend’s victims also included two men believed to have been struck by gunfire on the North Side and two men killed in a mass downtown shooting: one of the suspected gunmen and the above college student, whose family said was “an innocent bystander.”

University of St. Thomas student Charlie Johnson was out Saturday with friends, celebrating his graduation scheduled for the next day. Just before 2 a.m., gunfire erupted downtown as Johnson and his friends were walking home.


They were hit by stray gunfire, according to his father, Greg Johnson:

“He was a ray of sunshine without a mean bone in his body. (He) left a beautiful impact on every single life he touched.”

Johnson asked for calm, and to keep politics out of the discussion on ending violence:

“No politics please. Just love and compassion for each other as Charlie had for all of us. I AM CHARLIE!”

Police said that the incident began when shots were fired when two men got into a “verbal altercation” at a bar at closing time. In addition to the two bystanders killed, eight other people were injured in the shooting.


The second shooter was taken into custody and booked for suspicion of murder. He has not been identified by authorities.

Prior to this weekend, the city has had 31 homicides in 2021.

On Sunday, relatives of three children killed in the city gathered outside City Hall offering a reward for information leading to the arrests and convictions in their cases. The group called for peace in the city and for more police officers on the streets.


Randy Ottoson, grandfather of nine-year-old Trinity Ottoson-Smith who was shot and killed while jumping on a trampoline in his yard, said:

We need more police officers. There is no doubt in my mind. I’m praying for all of these families but, you know what, I’m praying for the next people too.”

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Police: Thank the ‘Illinois criminal justice reform bill’ for massive shortages of cops in the crime-ridden state

CHICAGO, IL- The Epoch Times recently reported that ever since Illinois lawmakers passed a major criminal justice reform bill in January, give Illinois sheriffs have retired early and six sheriffs are in line to retire this summer.

According to Illinois Sheriff Association (ISA) executive director Jim Kaitschuk in a typical year, only one or two sheriffs would leave the force before serving their full terms. He said:

“This is the most I’ve seen. They’re quitting as a direct result of the legislation.”

On top of the early retirements, over 20 Illinois sheriffs have decided not to seek re-election when their terms end. Kaitschuk said:

“It’s sad because these are individuals that have given their life to a profession that they obviously love and are passionate about and I hate to see them leave under the circumstances that they are.”

Reportedly, the recently enacted SAFE-T Act made sweeping changes to the Illinois criminal justice system, including abolishing cash bail in the next two years, creating a statewide certification program for police officers, mandating body cameras for all Illinois officers by 2025, and allowing anonymous complaints against police officers.

Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) praised the SAFE-T Act, stating that it will ensure “true safety, true fairness, and true justice.”

However, five major Illinois law enforcement organizations, including ISA, called it a “monster bill” that punishes police officers for doing their jobs and allows criminals to roam free.

For example, the SAFE-T Act makes it a felony for officers if they forget to turn on body-worn cameras while on duty, prohibits officers from reviewing body-camera videos before writing police reports, and has ambiguous language that appears to prohibit officers from aiming a taser at an offender’s back, which is a common practice recommended by many taser manufacturers.

In a letter that was released on January 13th, the Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition issued a statement regarding the SAFE-T Act. A follow-up bill has addressed some police concerns with the SAFE-T Act, but Kaitschuk said the original intent and direction remain unchanged.

He stated that he is also concerned about other police reform bills that are currently in the lawmakers’ pipeline, including one that seeks to abolish the qualified immunity of police officers.

After the criminal justice reform bill was signed into law, many lawmakers and organizations across the state shared their reactions. State Sen. Steve McClure (R-Springfield) said in a statement:

“Last year, we saw one of the worst years for violent crime in our state’s history. The General Assembly’s response was to pass a bill at 4:30 in the morning to make our crime problem worse.

I stand with the bipartisan group of legislators, state’s attorneys, law enforcement officials, and victims who oppose this bill. It is especially troubling that the Governor signed the bill in Chicago because it is the poster child for what can go wrong with poorly-designed criminal justice reforms.”

He added:

“We are already seeing a significant rise in shootings in Chicago this year compared to the same time last year. Instead of learning from Cook County’s mistakes, the Governor is mandating that many of these same failed policies be implemented statewide.

After another deadly weekend, it is time for the Governor to start fighting crime, instead of encouraging it.”

State Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) said in a statement:

“This measure becoming law will increase crime and make Illinoisans less safe. Governor Pritzker is prioritizing making life easier for criminals and making life more difficult for law enforcement.

As lawmakers, we need to make every effort to support our law enforcement officers and increase public safety efforts.”

Bourne added:

“Governor Pritzker has turned his back on law enforcement today, penalizing all of the good law enforcement who keep us safe every day. I voted no and a bipartisan group of legislators voted against this terrible bill. This measure is out of step with what a majority of Illinoisans believe.

Today, with this bill no becoming state law, their concerns are still valid: these sweeping changes to our criminal justice system will do more harm than good.”


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