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Colorado funeral home operators charged with selling body-parts

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Two morticians operating a Colorado funeral home were arrested and charged after they sold parts from human corpses, authorities said Tuesday.

Shirley Koch, 66, and her daughter Megan Hess, 43, ran the Sunset Mesa Funeral Home in Montrose, Colo., ignoring family wishes dozens of times from 2010 to 2018, according to the United States attorney’s office in Colorado.

The funeral home would charge $1,000 or more for cremation services, but often failed to carry out the work, authorities said. Koch and Hess also allegedly shipped bodies and body parts from deceased people who had infectious diseases, despite claiming the bodies were free of disease.

“This betrays a fundamental trust during one of the worst times in a person’s life — having to make arrangements for a deceased loved one,” U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn said in a news release.

“It is hard to imagine the pain and worry of those who used Sunset Mesa and not knowing what happened to their loved ones’ remains.”

Both morticians face six counts of mail fraud and three counts of illegal transportation of hazardous materials.

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