A man from Pennsylvania has been charged after he allegedly bought stolen body parts from a mortuary for resale on Facebook, police have said.
Jeremy Pauley, 40, from Enola, has been charged with abuse of a corpse, receiving stolen property and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.
Investigators claim that Pauley arranged to pay a woman in Arkansas $4,000 (£3,382) for the body parts in an effort to sell them on for profit.
Pauley told investigators that he intended to resell the body parts on Facebook, according to a police affidavit.
Facebook’s community standards prohibit human exploitation and explicitly prohibit selling body parts through its commercial policies and advertising policies.
It was also discovered that the remains in question had been donated to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, with a spokeswoman for the institution saying they had been stolen after they were sent to a mortuary for cremation.
“We are very respectful of those who donate their bodies, and we are appalled that such a thing could happen,” spokeswoman Leslie Taylor said.
Following a police raid on Pauley’s home, investigators initially found what they described as older human remains including full skeletons they determined were legally obtained.
However, after a second tip-off about newer remains in his home, investigators say they returned to the house to find more recent purchases.
Police found skeletons and several buckets of assorted body parts, including two brains, human skin, a heart, livers, lungs and even a child’s mandible with teeth, according to a criminal complaint.
Body modification artist
Seen by the New York Post, Pauley had posted bags of teeth, ribs, femurs and other bones online, offering to sell them to those willing to buy.
Pauley is a body modification artist, whose head is covered in tattoos and metal spikes, and has previously had pictures on his own (now-deleted) social media pages of human remains that he has collected.
Sean McCormack, district attorney for Cumberland County, where Pauley was charged on Friday, said: “I think I’ve seen it all, and then something like this comes around.
“The question we had to answer was, ‘Is the sale of body parts or bones and remains illegal… or legal?’
“Some of it, to our surprise, was legal. And as the investigation went on, it became clear there was illegal activity going on as well.”