ENOLA, Pa. — Police in Cumberland County have charged a Bloomsburg man with abuse of a corpse and other offenses after he allegedly tried to buy human remains from an Arkansas woman for resale on Facebook.
Jeremy Pauley, 40, was charged after an investigation that began on June 14, according to East Pennsboro Township Police.
Pauley, whom court records list as a resident of Bloomsburg but is called an Enola resident by police, describes himself on his Facebook page as the owner/curator of The Grand Wunderkammer and the executive director and curator of the Memento Mori Museum.
The Grand Wunderkammer's Facebook page describes the group as "vendors of the odd and unusual" and that its events feature "museum exhibits, guest lectures, live entertainment, and so much more!"
Pauley's personal Facebook account lists more than 4,900 friends.
The items he lists for sale on his page are described by Pauley as "medical bones," "femurs," "mandible bones", "teeth," and various other bones.
According to police, the investigation of Pauley began on June 14, when police received a phone call regarding suspicious activity at a home on the 200 block of North Enola Road in Enola.
The tipster told police that a suspect, later identified as Pauley, was buying human body parts and selling them on Facebook, according to police.
Investigators went to interview Pauley at his Enola home, according to the criminal complaint affidavit filed against him.
During the interview, Pauley allegedly told police he was in possession of three full human skeletons and approximately 15 to 20 human skulls, according to the complaint.
Pauley described himself as a collector of "oddities" and said the items were purchased legally, according to police.
Investigators said the items appeared to be "very old" and that Pauley appeared to have acquired them from "a legitimate purchase," according to the complaint.
On July 8, police say, they received another call regarding Pauley. The caller said they found additional human remains in the basement of Pauley's home. The caller reported there were buckets of "human skin" and "human organs" in the basement, the complaint states.
Police executed a search warrant at the home and collected three to five buckets containing suspected human remains, which were taken to the Cumberland County Coroner's Office and later transported to Dauphin County for testing, according to the complaint.
According to investigators, a forensic examiner later determined the buckets contained:
- human brains (2)
- human skin and human fat (6 pieces)
- a human heart
- a human kidney
- a human skull with hair
- human livers (2)
- a human trachea
- a human child's mandible with teeth
- human lungs (2)
Further investigation determined Pauley was purchasing the remains from a woman in Arkansas, whom police identified as Candace Scott. An examination of Facebook Messenger exchanges determined Pauley had purchased several human remains from Scott for $4,000, including:
- half a human head
- one whole human head minus the skull cap
- three human brains with skull caps
- a human heart
- a human liver
- a human lung
- human kidneys (2)
- a human female pelvis
- a piece of human torso including a nipple
- human hands (4)
Police say the items were shipped sent to Pauley via U.S. Postal Service. State Police intercepted the remains in Scranton, according to the complaint.
District Attorney Sean M. McCormack called the case "one of the most bizarre investigations" he has encountered in his 33 years as a prosecutor.
Just when I think I have seen it all, a case like this comes around," said McCormack
Investigators contacted police in Arkansas, who determined Scott was stealing the remains from a mortuary and sending them to Pauley to be resold. The remains were determined to belong to the University of Arkansas, according to the complaint.
Leslie Taylor, the Vice Chancellor of Communications and Marketing at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences released the following statement:
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 taking some human remains from the mortuary that were donated to UAMS. We are saddened and appalled that this happened.
"While the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division was an active partner in the investigation, the nexus of the criminal charges are based on a federal investigation," Bill Sadler, a spokesperson with Arkansas State Police, told KSFM-TV. "All inquiries regarding this case should be directed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Little Rock."
Connor Hagan, a FBI spokesperson in Little Rock, told KSFM the agency is aware of the charges filed by East Pennsboro Township Police, but declined to provide any further details due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.
Police re-interviewed Pauley on July 15. He allegedly admitted to purchasing the items from Scott and re-selling them on Facebook for profit, according to the complaint.
In addition to abuse of a corpse -- a second-degree misdemeanor -- Pauley is charged with a felony count of receiving stolen property, a misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property, and a felony count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, according to court records.
Pauley is currently free after posting bail of $50,000, according to court records. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 14.