Colorado funeral home owner pleads guilty in body sales case

Posted at 10:37 AM, Jul 06, 2022

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado funeral home operator accused of illegally selling body parts and giving clients fake ashes has pleaded guilty to mail fraud in federal court.

Megan Hess faces a maximum sentence of 20 years after Tuesday's plea.

During the hearing, Hess said she took responsibility for her actions.

“I’m here to accept the plea," she said, according to The Daily Sentinel. "The families believe I went beyond the scope of the consent forms.”

U.S. authorities said that on dozens of occasions, Hess and her mother, Shirley Koch, transferred bodies or body parts to third parties for research without families’ knowledge.

The women operated the Sunset Mesa Funeral Home as well as Donor Services in Montrose.

Hess and Koch were charged in 2020 with six counts of mail fraud and three counts of illegal transportation of hazardous materials.

Koch reportedly has a change of plea hearing scheduled for July 12.