A former mortuary worker from Arkansas has been indicted for selling body parts from medical school corpses for nearly $11,000 to a Pennsylvania man she met on social media.
Candace Chapman Scott, 36, pleaded not guilty to 12 counts, including conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property and interstate transportation of stolen property.
According to the indictment, Scott first contacted the Pennsylvania man, identified by separate state charges as Jeremy Lee Pauley, through a Facebook group about “oddities” in October 2021. The indictment then states that over the next nine months Scott sold Pauley fetuses, brains, hearts, lungs, genitalia, large pieces of skin, and other body parts.
Scott had worked at Arkansas Central Mortuary Services, a funeral home, and part of her job included transporting, cremating, and embalming remains. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock sent remains of donated cadavers that medical students had used to examine to the mortuary to be cremated.
The FBI has not revealed whether any remains have been identified to school officials, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences spokeswoman Leslie Taylor told the Arkansas Democrat–Gazette. She said embalming damages DNA, making identification extremely difficult. The medical school still partners with Arkansas Central Mortuary Services, Taylor said.
“I think that the facts … underlying the indictment and in the indictment are uniquely egregious and objectionable, and we believe there is going to be some significant public outcry as a result of this,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Jegley said. Scott remains in jail awaiting a hearing Tuesday on if she will be released on bail.
The disturbing case of illegal body part sales has raised many questions about the nature of Facebook groups involving “oddities”, which are largely private and have a reach of thousands of members. It has also exposed a lack of oversight of donated cadavers and their remains.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has not commented on the case, but it is a reminder of the importance of proper handling of donated cadavers and their parts. It is also a reminder that social media can be a dangerous place if people are not careful.