A Pennsylvania man was charged with misusing a corpse, receiving stolen property and other charges after police said he allegedly tried to purchase stolen human remains from an Arkansas woman for possible resale on Facebook.
A spokeswoman for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock confirmed that the remains would be donated to UAMS’ facility. UAMS spokeswoman Leslie Taylor said they were instead stolen from Arkansas Central Mortuary Services in Little Rock by a female mortuary worker and sold, adding that there is an open federal investigation.
“We have great respect for those who donate their bodies, and we are shocked that something like this could happen,” Taylor said.
A rep from the morgue hung up on a reporter who asked for comment Thursday.
FBI Little Rock spokesman Conor Hagan said the office was aware of the Pennsylvania incident “but will not comment on ongoing investigations.” No charges were filed against the Arkansas woman on Thursday.
The East Pennsboro Township Police Department in Pennsylvania announced the arrest and indictment of 40-year-old Jeremy Lee Pauley of Enola, Pennsylvania. Pauley was arrested on July 22 and was due to appear in court for the first time on Thursday.
Calls to a lawyer representing Pauley went unanswered late Thursday. Pauley was released on $50,000 bail, according to court records.
On a Facebook page under his name, Pauley has posted photos of sacks and piles of femurs, one of which is captioned, “Picked up more medical bones for sorting.” The Facebook page he uses to market his body parts is called “The Grand Wunderkammer,” “Sellers of the Weird and Unusual, museum exhibits, guest lectures, live entertainment, and more! Strange, curious and unique at all possible ways!” It also includes a link to his website.
“I think I’ve seen it all, and then something like this happens,” said Sean McCormack, district attorney for Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, where Pauley was indicted. “The question we had to answer was: is the sale of body parts or bones and will it remain illegal… or legal? Some of it, to our surprise, was legal. And as the investigation progressed, it became clear that illegal activities were also going on.”
Pauley, who described himself as a collector of what he called “rarities,” including human body parts, said the remains had been legally obtained when first contacted by police, according to an affidavit from police. Police initially found what they described as older human remains, including full skeletons they believe had been obtained legally.
However, after a second tip about newer remains at Pauley’s home, the investigators returned to the home to find more recent purchases. Police found three five-gallon buckets containing various body parts, including those of children, and federal and state police officers intercepted packages addressed to Pauley from the Arkansas woman containing body parts.
Pauley told investigators he intended to resell the body parts, according to the affidavit. Investigators allege that Pauley arranged through Facebook Messenger to pay the Arkansas woman $4,000 for the body parts.
Facebook did not respond to messages requesting comments on Pauley’s pages. However, community standards prohibit human exploitation and explicitly prohibit the sale of body parts through its commercial and advertising policies.
Associated Press writer Kantele Franko of Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.
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