Colorado Funeral Home Scandal: Grieving Daughter Discovers Parents Sold to ‘Body

In a shocking revelation, a Colorado woman, five years after her parents’ deaths, discovered that the bodies of her deceased mother and father were sold to ‘body brokers’ by a local funeral home.

The disturbing incident sheds light on a macabre scam operated by the owners of Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors in Montrose, Colorado.

A Deceptive Funeral Deal

Harry, 86, and Lillian Peacock, 76, had died within a week of each other in 2013. Harry, seeking to spare his family financial burden, arranged a funeral package with Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors.

Unbeknownst to the grieving family, the funeral home owners, Morgan Hess, 48, and her mother, Shirley Koch, 69, were running a fraudulent scheme, selling corpses to ‘body brokers’ without the families’ knowledge.

Heart-Wrenching Discovery

Sandy Wilson, the daughter, first learned about the FBI investigation into her parents’ case in 2017 while in Disneyworld.

The confirmation came a year later, revealing that her father’s heart and eyes were sold to a plastination company. Plastination is a process used for body preservation. The shocking truth unfolded about her mother being sold as well, raising numerous questions about the fate of their remains.

Legal Consequences

Hess and Koch were arrested in 2020, and in 2023, Hess was sentenced to 20 years in prison, while Koch received a 15-year sentence on mail fraud charges.

The duo charged families $1,000 per cremation, and instead of cremating the bodies, they engaged in the illegal trade of body parts, including gold teeth.

Stolen Closure

The Peacock family expressed that Hess and Koch’s actions robbed them of closure. The deceptive practices of the funeral home, including forging consent forms and selling body parts, added layers of distress to grieving families already grappling with loss.

Impact on Victims

Victims testified during the trial about the pain and suffering inflicted by the scheme. The judge sentenced the perpetrators, highlighting the severe consequences of their actions.

The scheme involved transferring bodies or body parts to third parties for research without families’ knowledge.

Motivations and Scandal Unveiled

Hess claimed her motivation was to advance medical research, but the court dismissed this argument, emphasizing the repeated nature of the fraudulent conduct over eight years.

The scheme targeted poor and vulnerable families, offering free cremations while deceiving them with urns filled with other materials.

Regulatory Gaps and Strengthened Oversight

The scandal exposed regulatory gaps in the oversight of the sale of cadavers and body parts for research or education.

While selling organs for transplant is illegal, the trade of body parts for research is not federally regulated. Colorado’s legislature strengthened oversight following the scandal.

Closure Through Justice

Sandy Wilson expressed relief at seeing Hess and Koch behind bars. The family, along with other victims, now hopes for justice and restitution. The sentencing sends a strong message about the gravity of exploiting vulnerable families during their most challenging times.