LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Police in Pennsylvania arrested a man they said was allegedly purchasing and selling human remains from Arkansas on Facebook.
Former President of the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association Scott Berna said the case is disturbing.
“It’s shocking anytime you hear something like this and it goes against every fiber of your being,” Berna said.
Jeremy Pauley, 40, was arrested and released on $50,000 bail on charges of felony dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, felony receiving stolen property, misdemeanor receiving stolen property, and misdemeanor abuse of a corpse.
After investigators in Pennsylvania executed a search warrant, they found 3-5 gallons containing human remains.
The investigation found that Pauley bought $4,000 worth of remains via Facebook Messenger from a woman in Arkansas.
Police determined the items were shipped via the United States Postal Service from Arkansas. An investigation by FBI Arkansas and Arkansas State Police shows a person, identified in court records, was allegedly stealing body parts belonging to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences from a mortuary in Little Rock.
Leslie Taylor, Vice Chancellor of Communications and Marketing for UAMS, said the remains were stolen from a mortuary and not UAMS. Taylor released the following statement regarding the situation.
UAMS is extremely grateful to the many people who unselfishly donate their bodies to our anatomical gift program for use in medical education and research. Human bodies are an indispensable aid in the education of medical students, nurses and other health professions students. UAMS is extremely respectful of our donors when they are here in our care. We have a contract with Arkansas Central Mortuary Services to take the bodies for cremation after they are no longer being used by our students. An employee of the mortuary service is under investigation by federal authorities for stealing some human remains donated to UAMS. We are saddened and appalled that this happened.Leslie Taylor
Berna said he hopes the investigation sheds light on how it happened.
“We should absolutely investigate it and identify the person responsible and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” Berna said.
The FBI in Little Rock also confirmed to KNWA/FOX 24 that it is involved in the investigation.