Jeremy Lee Pauley, 40, of Enola was arrested on Aug. 18, 2022, for dealing in the proceeds of unlawful activities, abuse of a corpse, and two counts of receiving stolen property, crimes police say are tied to their discovery of three buckets of flesh and bones found in his basement. Coffee or Die Magazine composite.
In a 21st-century twist on the crime of grave robbing, a Pennsylvania man stands accused of illegally purchasing stolen human skin and organs.
Jeremy Lee Pauley, 40, of Enola, was arrested on Aug. 18 for dealing in the proceeds of unlawful activities, abuse of a corpse, and two counts of receiving stolen property, crimes police said were tied to their discovery of three buckets of flesh and bones in his basement.
“It’s sick and twisted for sure,” East Pennsboro Township Police Detective Sgt. Adam Shope told Coffee or Die Magazine.
Neither Pauley nor his attorney responded to Coffee or Die Magazine's messages seeking comment.
Receiving stolen property is a third-degree felony, and each count carries a sentence of up to seven years behind bars and a $15,000 fine.
Many people and institutions worldwide collect human bones and organs. This display of sick human brains was seen at the "Museum of Neuropathology" in Lima, Peru, on Nov. 16, 2016. The "Museum of Neuropathology" at the Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo hospital bears a collection of 290 brains and offers an unusual journey by encephalic masses unrevealing the secrets of the most complex organ of the human body. Photo by Ernesto Benavides/AFP via Getty Images.
The case seems to have begun on June 14, when Pauley’s wife, Sarah, tipped off officers about a sale on Facebook Marketplace involving “possible” human remains, according to a criminal complaint filed by Shope.
On July 8, Pauley's wife reported finding three buckets of remains in the basement. That triggered a raid by East Pennsboro Police detectives and personnel from Cumberland Country Forensics and the coroner’s office. They counted a heart, a kidney, a spleen, some fat, a skull with hair, a trachea, and a child’s mandible with teeth, plus two livers, two brains, two lungs, and six pieces of skin stuck to fat.
It was unlawful to own those remains, Shope wrote in the criminal complaint, but Pauley also possessed a collection of oddities that included “at least three full human skeletons, over seven glass jars containing infant human remains, over five human skulls, and over 50 rib bones” that apparently arrived legally from museums and medical centers.
Facebook messages, however, allegedly revealed Pauley was trying to buy more remains from an Arkansas woman, Candace Scott, including half of a head, a whole head minus the skull cap, brains with a skull cap, a heart, a liver, a lung, kidneys, some hands, a female pelvis, and a piece of skin with nipple.
The skeleton of a woman can be seen in her tomb looted by grave robbers in the cemetery of the Puelma nitrate camp in the outskirts of Antofagasta, Chile on June 15, 2015. The history of the nitrate came to an end in 1930 when the synthetic nitrate substituted the mineral nitrate by converting these populations exposed to high levels of pollution in ghost towns and becoming historical monuments. AFP PHOTO/ Ronaldo Schemidt (Photo credit should read RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)
Authorities said personnel from the FBI, US Postal Service agents, and Pennsylvania State Police intercepted the parcels and discovered the remains belonged to the University of Arkansas.
They had allegedly been diverted from a mortuary to Pauley, who was “selling those body parts to people for monetary gain,” according to the complaint.
“This is one of the most bizarre investigations I have encountered in my 33 years as a prosecutor,” District Attorney Seán M. McCormack said in a prepared statement.
“It’s bizarre,” Shope added. “Anyone can buy this stuff on Facebook.”
Pauley’s preliminary hearing is slated for Sept. 14 at 1:15 p.m. in Enola, Pennsylvania.
Noelle is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die through a fellowship from Military Veterans in Journalism. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and interned with the US Army Cadet Command. Noelle also worked as a civilian journalist covering several units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment on Fort Benning, before she joined the military as a public affairs specialist.
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