Accused of selling body parts without consent, funeral home owner pleads guilty to mail fraud

While running Sunset Mesa Funeral in Montrose, Colorado, Megan Hess and her mother found a gruesome opportunity to create a booming side business. Accused of selling body parts without the appropriate consent and shipping them via USPS, Hess has pled guilty to mail fraud.


Hess and her mother, Shirley Koch, had operated Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors in Montrose, Colorado, between 2010 and 2018, per the U.S. Attorney's office. They were indicted in 2020, following accusations of illegally selling body parts or entire bodies to third parties who were seeking the remains for medical, educational or scientific purposes — and "without the consent of the family of the deceased."

In some cases, Hess and Koch had knowingly shipped bodies or parts from victims who had infectious diseases. They also provided the deceased's families with cremated remains "with the representation that the cremains were that of the deceased when, frequently, that was not the case," according to a 2020 indictment notice.

The two were charged with six counts of mail fraud and three counts of illegal transportation of hazardous materials, according to the indictment.

At Tuesday's hearing, Hess admitted she "exceeded the scope of the consent" when explaining why she was pleading guilty to mail fraud, Colorado's The Daily Sentinel reported.