Pennsylvania authorities charged a man with abuse of a corpse after he tried to buy human remains from an Arkansas woman who allegedly stole the dead body from a mortuary. The man said he planned to resell the remains on Facebook.
Human remains donated to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock were subsequently sent to Arkansas Central Mortuary Services for cremation, then were stolen, UAMS spokeswoman Leslie Taylor said, according to The Associated Press on Friday.
A female mortuary employee allegedly stole the corpse and attempted to sell it, Taylor said, adding that a federal investigation has been opened into the matter.
“We are very respectful of those who donate their bodies, and we are appalled that such a thing could happen,” Taylor said.
East Pennsboro Township Police arrested and charged Jeremy Lee Pauley, 40, for the corpse incident on July 22. Pauley first appeared in court last week. Pauley was released on $50,000 bond, court records showed.
Pauley posted photos of bags and human remains on Facebook, including one photo that was captioned, “Picked up more medical bones to sort through.” Pauley also runs a Facebook page called “The Grand Wunderkammer” and a website of the same name.
Pauley insisted that the corpse was legally obtained, a police affidavit said, and authorities initially believed that was the case. However, investigators later discovered in Pauley’s home three five-gallon buckets of body parts – including those of children.
Federal and state authorities also intercepted packages containing body parts that were sent to Pauley by the Arkansas woman. Pauley told police that he planned to pay the Arkansas woman $4,000 and intended to resell the human remains. The arrangements were made through Facebook Messenger.
The woman involved in the corpse incident has not been charged.
“Vendors of the odd and unusual, museum exhibits, guest lectures, live entertainment, and so much more! Strange, curious, and unique in every way possible!” the Facebook page states.
Sean McCormack, Cumberland County district attorney, noted the sale of some body parts or bones is legal.
“I think I’ve seen it all, and then something like this comes around,” McCormack said. “The question we had to answer was, Is the sale of body parts or bones and remains illegal … or legal? Some of it, to our surprise, was legal. And as the investigation went on, it became clear there was illegal activity going on as well.”
Connor Hagan, a spokesman for FBI Little Rock, said the bureau knew about the incident “but will not comment on ongoing investigations.”