scorecardHarvard researcher finds out that his wife's remains may have been sold in a morgue trafficking scheme
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Harvard researcher finds out that his wife's remains may have been sold in a morgue trafficking scheme

Marta Biino   

Harvard researcher finds out that his wife's remains may have been sold in a morgue trafficking scheme
PolicyPolicy2 min read
  • A Harvard researcher found out that his wife's remains may have been trafficked after they were donated to the school.
  • The same day, an ex-morgue manager at Harvard was indicted on charges of trafficking human remains.

A researcher found out last Wednesday that his wife's remains might have been sold as part of a trafficking ring after her body parts were donated to Harvard Medical School for research.

Jack Porter, an associate of Harvard's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, told the Boston Herald that he had donated the remains of his wife, Raya, to the university after she had passed in 2017.

"What bothers me is that there's somebody in some basement somewhere in this country or elsewhere fondling my wife's body parts," Porter told the Herald.

"It could be her brain, her skin, her bones. This is disgusting and this is why there should be a severe punishment."

Porter added that he remembered being sent his wife's cremated remains in early 2019.

But according to a letter Porter received from the school last Wednesday, Raya's remains "may have been impacted" by a suspected trafficking ring that prosecutors say was run by Cedric Lodge, a former morgue manager at Harvard Medical School.

The same day, Lodge was indicted, along with his wife and four other people, on charges of conspiring to transport and sell human remains between 2018 and 2022.

Up to 400 bodies may have been used as part of this scheme, according to a civil lawsuit filed by the son of one of the victims.

The remains had been donated to the school as part Harvard's anatomical gifts program by people who agreed to donate their bodies for education, teaching, or research purposes.

Porter's wife, who had been a gynecologist in her home country of Ukraine, had decided to donate her remains for medical research after contracting colon cancer, Porter said.

Instead, Raya Porter's remains may have been sold for profit, Harvard University said.

"I believe that they can recover some of these parts," Porter said. "All of us who are family members believe it's a horrible thing that happened."

The prosecutors said they found some evidence of Lodge's transactions, a federal indictment filed last Wednesday shows.

According to the criminal complaint, he had sold two dissected faces for $600, for instance. One of the defendants named in the indictment, Katrina Maclean, who owned a doll shop, had posted a picture on Instagram showing one of her dolls, claiming it was made with "a real human skull."

The prosecutors also said Lodge would let Maclean and another defendant, Joshua Taylor, into the morgue to choose the remains they wanted.

While Porter said Harvard had handled the donation "very respectfully" and paid funeral costs, he raised the concern that the school may have not followed security protocols carefully.

"I don't have hatred for Mr. Lodge, I pity him," Porter said. Representatives for Harvard and Lodge did not immediatley respond to a request to comment. A representative for Taylor declined to comment.




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