A Colorado funeral home is under investigation by the FBI for allegedly removing gold teeth from dead bodies and selling them for profit. They reportedly used the funds to go to Disneyland.
As part of its ongoing investigation “The Body Trade,” Reuters reports that federal agents are interviewing former employees from the Sunset Mesa funeral home and business owner Megan Hess. While it is legal to sell cadavers to medical research and educational facilities, extracting personal effects such a gold fillings from teeth for personal profit is another story.
One ex-employee, Kati Escher, said she was worried by the practices of Hess’ mother, Shirley Koch, who also works at the business. Escher claimed Koch, who embalmed the corpses, pulled teeth from corpses to extract the gold from dental crowns and fillings.
“She showed me her collection of gold teeth,” Escher told Reuters, claiming “She sold a different patch a year prior, and they took the whole family to Disneyland in California on the gold they cashed in.”
Based on Escher’s claims, the FBI began conducting a probe and interviewing former employees. There have been nine other complaints lodged against the funeral home.
Koch’s daughter, Hess, opened Sunset Mesa in 2008. She is also the owner of Donor Services, a legitimate body broker operation. They also run the onsite crematory.
While federal law does not prohibit the sale of cadavers or body parts for use in scientific reason or medical education, few states provide any legal provisions to oversee the practice. The state of Colorado not only doesn’t license funeral directors but there is no mandate to regulate the sale of human remains.
The status of the investigation is not yet known, but it is believed to be ongoing.
[Feature image: Pixabay]