Megan Hess is the main suspect in the incident. Their mother Shirley Koch (69) is the second accused. Megan was found guilty in the case in April. The court sentenced Megan to 20 years in prison, the maximum sentence prescribed by state law. The second accused has to serve 15 years imprisonment.
The fraud was carried out under the guise of companies that the woman ran in Colorado. She owned a funeral home called Sunset Mesa and an organ donation organization called Donor Services. Both firms were operating in one building in Montrose.
The incident came to light in 2016 during an investigation conducted by the news agency Reuters. The investigative reports were about the mafia that sells human organs illegally. In the meantime, the information about the fraud being run by a mother and daughter in Colorado came out. After this, the FBI, the federal investigation agency in the US, raided both the institutions.
The powerful statements given by the relatives of the deceased against the accused became a major evidence. Erin Smith, a young woman, testified that the accused, who cut up her mother’s body, sold the shoulder, knees and feet. It was discovered that Megan’s mother was the one who led the mutilation of the bodies. Selling hearts, kidneys, tendons, etc. is illegal under US law. But the fraud was staged by the illegal sale of organs which were not prescribed by the law. The sale of heads, arms, and spines is not prohibited by federal law. The FBI discovered that they were selling the organs collected from the corpses to surgical training companies. But the accused concealed the information that these organs were collected without the permission of the relatives or the deceased.
They used to charge around 80,000 rupees for cremating a dead body. But they were trading these body parts. The cremated ashes of other dead bodies were given as cremated ashes. Unaware of this scam, many approached this institution for last rites. At the same time, the defense argued in the court that Meghan’s brain injury following an accident at the age of 18 prompted them to commit cruelty. The court rejected this argument. It is found that the two accused have defrauded around 200 families. The court ordered that both the accused should be transferred to jail immediately.
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