Owners of Colorado Funeral Home Sent to Prison for Selling Body Parts
The owners of Colorado's infamous Sunset Mesa Funeral Home are going to prison for their hand in an illegal body part-selling scheme.
The story of the Montrose parlor garnered national attention in 2018 after a Reuters exposé revealed that owner Megan Hess, 46, and her mother Shirley Koch, 69, were involved in body brokering — or "donating" body parts to companies without permission from the deceased's family.
Now, the victims — many of whom received fake ashes from Sunset Mesa and still don't know what happened to their loved ones' remains — are finally getting justice.
According to a Tuesday (Jan. 3) press release from the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado, prosecutors have sentenced Hess to 20 years in federal prison for harvesting body parts for profit. Koch will serve 15 years.
The release noted that, on top of selling body parts without family permission, Hess and Koch were shipping the remains of people who had died from infectious diseases like HIV — violating the Department of Transportation's rules regarding hazardous materials.
"These two women preyed on vulnerable victims who turned to them in a time of grief and sadness. But instead of offering guidance, these greedy women betrayed the trust of hundreds of victims and mutilated their loved ones," FBI Denver Acting Special Agent in Charge Leonard Carollo said in the release. "Without knowledge or consent, the women disrespected the wishes of the grieving victims and degraded the bodies of their family members to sell them for profit."
Carollo hopes the sentencing will bring closure to the affected families. Read more about infamous Colorado crimes in the gallery below.