Pennsylvania Man Arrested for Trying to Buy Stolen Human Remains to Resell on Facebook, Police Say

Jeremy Pauley is accused of purchasing human body parts that authorities say were stolen from a mortuary.
East Pennsboro Township Police Department

Jeremy Pauley, a self-described collector of “oddities," is accused of purchasing human body parts that were allegedly stolen from a mortuary after being donated to a university.

A Pennsylvania man was arrested after he allegedly tried buying stolen human remains with the intention of reselling them on Facebook, police said.

Jeremy Pauley, 40, of Enola is accused of purchasing human body parts that a spokeswoman for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock told the Associated Press were stolen by a female employee of Arkansas Central Mortuary Services in Little Rock. The remains had been donated to UAMS’s facility and sent to the mortuary for cremation, the spokeswoman told the AP.

Pauley allegedly purchased the human body parts from a woman in Arkansas, the East Pennsboro Township Police Department said, adding they began investigating after receiving a tip on June 14 "for suspicious activity” at Pauley’s home. 

No charges had been filed against the Arkansas woman as of Friday. 

Joined by the FBI, Arkansas State Police, the Cumberland County Coroner’s office, Cumberland County Forensics the East Pennsboro Township Police Division, Bloomsburg Police Department, United States Postal Service and the Pennsylvania State Police, the East Pennsboro Township Police said their cooperative investigation found “Human remains were located in Enola, Arkansas and Scranton.”

“Those human remains were being sold on Facebook for monetary gain,” police said in a news release.

Pauley was arrested on July 22 and charged with abuse of a corpse, receiving stolen property and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities. He had an initial court appearance Thursday and was released on $50,000 bond, officials said.

“I think I’ve seen it all, and then something like this comes around,” Sean McCormack, district attorney for Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, where Pauley was charged, told the AP. “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.”

When first contacted by police, Pauley allegedly said the remains were acquired legally. Investigators said they initially found what they described as older human remains that they determined were legally obtained, the AP reported.

A second tip about newer remains in Pauley's home reportedly led police to return to his house, where they said they found three five-gallon buckets containing assorted body parts, including of children. Federal and state law enforcement agents said they intercepted packages containing body parts that were addressed to Pauley from the Arkansas woman, the AP wrote.

A self-described collector of “oddities,” Pauley has posted pictures on Facebook of human bones he said were for sale. “12 available femurs. PM (private message) to claim. Also one mandible left. First come first serve,” he wrote on Aug. 12. “Femurs are 125 shipped or 90 each for 3 or more,” he wrote in reply to a commenter inquiring about the price. He later edited the post to note all the bones had been sold. 

“Picked up more medical bones to sort through,” he captioned another set of photos posted to Facebook.  
Pauley markets body parts for sale through the Facebook page, “The Grand Wunderkammer.” “Vendors of the odd and unusual, museum exhibits, guest lectures, live entertainment, and so much more! Strange, curious, and unique in every way possible!” a description of the Facebook page reads.

Facebook’s community standards prohibit human exploitation. The site’s commercial policies and advertising policies also prohibit the selling of body parts.

On a website by the same name, Pauley is described as “the Executive Director and Head Curator of The Mememento Mori Museum, an educational non profit organization specializing in traveling exhibits showcasing fascinating death related history to teach the public about death related customs, pathologies, and long lost artifacts. In addition he is head of the Pauley Institute of Preservation, specializing in restoration, plastination, osteology, and other forms of preserving educational specimens. Jeremy is also known for his works in the field of Anthropodermic bibliopegy.”

He told the Keystone News in 2018 that for 14 years, he had been painting with blood volunteered by close friends. Pauley created depicting serial killers Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy have been displayed in the Museum of Death in New Orleans.

Pauley has received an outpouring of support on his Facebook page, with commenters expressing frustration that he was arrested and with what they describe as a lack of understanding by the public at large.

"They think you’re the devil. I’m sorry people don’t understand. Just know I’ve been called the devil for less and you will get through this,” one person commented.

"I don't know you, but you seem nice and straight forward. I hope they do the right thing and take it easy on you and let you move on with your life,” another wrote.

A third posted, "Just wanted to post that the oddity community supports you. I’m a complete stranger, but if I didn’t live on the other side of the state I’d be at the hearing in September."

Pauley thanked his supporters, writing on Aug. 11, “Thank you everyone. Good to see not everybody drinks the kool aid.”

In a reply to a supporter, he also wrote, “It’s been very embellished in the news. I’m just working as usual while my attorney navigates everything.”

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