LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WKRN) — Approximately 40 human skulls were found among bones and body parts inside a Kentucky apartment.
The discovery was made as FBI agents served a search warrant Tuesday in connection with the investigation into stolen human remains that were trafficked from Harvard Medical School’s morgue.
James Nott, who lives in the apartment, was arrested after the discovery.
Federal investigators initially received a tip that there were possibly human remains at another home, that of Jeremy Pauley in Pennsylvania. After officers found human remains — including organs and skin — the FBI determined Pauley was buying the remains through Facebook from a woman who worked at a mortuary in Little Rock, Arkansas.
PayPal transactions reveal she sold Pauley various human remains including hearts, brains, lungs, and two fetal specimens.
Pauley provided investigators with information on the network of individuals who were involved in the sale and transportation of fraudulently obtained human remains, including Cedric Lodge, who prosecutors said stole organs and other parts of cadavers donated to Harvard for medical research and education before their scheduled cremations from the morgue between 2018 and 2022.
Investigators determined Pauley sold and shipped human remains to Nott. The FBI executed a search warrant at Nott’s apartment in Mt. Washington, Kentucky.
Nott was alone in the apartment, but when an FBI agent asked if anyone else was inside, he replied “only my dead friends.”
Inside the home, agents located approximately 40 human skulls, spinal cords, femurs and hip bones. The skulls were reportedly decorated around the furniture, one with a head scarf and another on the mattress where Nott slept. A Harvard Medical School bag was also found in the home.
During the search, agents found multiple firearms, including an AK-47 three feet from the door of the home and, leaning on a mattress where Nott slept, inert grenades and two plates of body armor.
Investigators believe Cedric Lodge would sometimes take stolen remains — which included heads, brains, skin and bones — to his New Hampshire home, where he and his wife, 63-year-old Denise Lodge, would then sell the remains to buyers in other states, prosecutors said.
In a message posted on the school’s website entitled “An abhorrent betrayal,” deans George Daley and Edward Hundert called the matter “morally reprehensible.” They said Cedric Lodge was fired on May 6.
“Some crimes defy understanding,” said United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam. “The theft and trafficking of human remains strikes at the very essence of what makes us human. It is particularly egregious that so many of the victims here volunteered to allow their remains to be used to educate medical professionals and advance the interests of science and healing. For them and their families to be taken advantage of in the name of profit is appalling.”
Nott was booked into the Oldham County jail. He was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm as a prohibited person.