MONTROSE, Colo. (CBS4)– More than 100 people met in Montrose over the weekend, seven months after the FBI raided Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors, for several alleged violations that include selling body parts without permission.
“Her entire body was sold by Sunset Mesa before I even got there to make arrangements for cremation. She gave me fake ashes. At this time the location of her body is unknown,” said one woman at the gathering.
The owner of the funeral home, Megan Hess, is accused of selling bodies and body parts without permission. Families complained they did not receive the cremains of their loved ones, or received dry cement instead.
They told their stories at the gathering of what happened to them. There were dozens of stories, all of them difficult to tell, difficult to hear.
“I lost my husband June 17 of 2017. I know what body parts I will be getting back. They are in FBI evidence. He was dismembered and sold to an agency in Detroit,” said one victim.
Families say those bodies and body parts went to companies in Michigan, China and Saudi Arabia.
“When she died the 20th of December 2014, she was taken that day to Sunset Mesa. A couple weeks later we got ashes of her and the FBI just told me that her body had been embalmed and that she was shipped to somewhere in Michigan,” said another victim.
According to investigators, Hess operated a body broker business out of the funeral home before it was shut down in March.
The funeral home doubles as a donor services facility, meaning the funeral director would be the person actually dismembering bodies for donation.
Organizers of Saturday’s gathering says the FBI retrieved 50-60 full bodies.
This year, the Colorado Legislature passed a bill that regulates companies that sell human body parts. It prohibits anyone who owns more than a 10 percent stake in a funeral home or crematory from owning a body broker business.