Former mortuary worker admits to stealing human remains

A former mortuary worker in the US state of Arkansas pleaded guilty to charges that she stole body parts from medical school cadavers, according to an announcement from the local attorney’s office in a press release.

According to prosecutors, 37-year-old Candace Chapman Scott committed the crimes while working at Arkansas Central Mortuary Service from October 2021 to 15 July 2022. The company handled human and fetal remains donated to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Scott’s job was to transport, embalm, and cremate the remains in question.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), during her tenure, Scott “stole human body parts and fetal remains” and later sold them to a Pennsylvania resident she met on Facebook, Jeremy Pauley. According to a report by AP which cited court documents, she sold a total of 24 boxes of stolen body parts to Pauley for nearly $11,000.
On Thursday, Scott pleaded guilty to “transporting stolen body parts across state lines and conspiracy to commit mail fraud,” the attorney’s office for Eastern District of Arkansas in the press release. Judge Brian S. Miller said he would sentence Scott at a later date. She faces a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.

Scott’s indictment is part of a nationwide investigation into trafficking of stolen human remains linked with Harvard Medical School, which made headlines across the US last year. A longtime manager of the school’s morgue for the Anatomical Gifts Program, Cedric Lodge, was indicted on conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods charges for selling body parts out of the famed school in April last year. The scheme came to light in mid-2022, when the estranged wife of Jeremy Pauley, who was buying body parts from both Lodge and Scott, asked police to check her husband’s basement, saying that she suspected him of trading in cadavers on Facebook.
A total of seven people have been so far. Pauley pleaded guilty to conspiracy and interstate transportation of stolen property back in September, and was sentenced last month to two years of supervised probation. Trials are still pending for the other defendants, including Lodge.