Sunset Mesa and the proprietor [in photo], is under investigation for nine complaints filed against it
A Colorado funeral home that also sells human body parts has sparked an FBI probe after its owners were accused of removing gold teeth from dead bodies and selling them before using the money to go to Disneyland.
Keri Escher, an ex-employee of Sunset Mesa Funeral Home in Montrose, told Reuters that she found what Shirley Koch was doing extremely troubling.
Koch works at the funeral home embalming and dismembering bodies. She’s the mother of Megan Hess, the owner.
Megan Hess, who owns the funeral home, is being questioned by the FBI about how she runs her businesses
Hess operates a body broker business and crematory in the same facility as her funeral home
Escher, who helped manage a former cremation-marketing business run by Hess, said Koch would pull teeth from some of the corpses to extract the gold in crowns or fillings and then sell what she collected.
‘She showed me her collection of gold teeth one day,’ Escher told the outlet. ‘She had sold a different batch a year prior, and they took the whole family to Disneyland in California on the gold that they cashed in.’
Following Escher’s claims, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began interviewing former employees.
Hess employs her parents Alan Koch and Shirley Alan Koch at the business. Shirley Koch’s task at the funeral home allegedly is embalming and dismembering bodies. She’s the mother of Megan Hess, the owner. A whistle-blower described her activities as ‘extremely troubling’
At least four ex-workers and Hess have been questioned about how she runs Sunset Mesa and the other businesses she operates in the same location of the funeral home.
Hess, who opened Sunset Mesa in 2006, is also the owner of Donor Services, a body broker operation, and has a crematory. Both are run from the same building as the funeral home, sparking questions of whether the practice is ethical.
Some former staff members at the funeral home told Reuters that they never heard Hess tell families that the donated cadavers would be sold for profit.
‘The conflict of interest of having a side business in body parts just leads to problems,’ said Arizona funeral director Steve Palmer.
‘There are no ethics there when you do that. You are not looking at the full disposition (of a body). You are looking at how to make money.’
Robert Fells, general counsel of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, said the multifaceted business is ‘a new frontier’ but noted that family members of donors need to be made aware.