An American undertaker has been arraigned for selling dead bodies and giving grieving families fake ashes that she claimed are their loved ones.
Megan Hess is accused of handing over urns filled with fake ashes to families to hide her shameful scam.
She even gave one mourner concrete mix in place of their relative’s remains.
The 45-year-old, who previously denied all the charges levelled against her, finally admitted the shocking truth as she entered a guilty plea in court earlier this week.
An FBI investigation found that Hess forged dozens of body-donor consent forms at her Sunset Mesa funeral home in the town of Montrose, before selling various heads, arms, spines and legs to medical research and extracting and selling the gold teeth of some of the deceased.
Hess, who stands accused of body harvesting from 2010 to 2018 alongside her mother Shirley Koch, is also believed to have used the thousands of dollars she made to fund a trip to Walt Disney World.
Charging $1,000 (£8,400) per cremation, she also preyed on poorer families by offering them her services for free, only to then dispose of the cadavers for her own gain.
The mother and daughter are also accused of shipping the bodies of those who’d tested positive for, or died from, conditions such as Hepatitis B and C, and HIV, all the while telling buyers that the remains were disease-free.
Prior to her recent guilty pleas, Hess had been due to stand trial in the coming weeks, while Koch – who also previously pleaded not guilty – is due to attend a change-of-plea hearing on July 12.
Hess potentially faces being sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.