Warning: This story contains graphic content.
A New Hampshire woman whose father’s remains were allegedly trafficked by a disgraced Harvard Medical School morgue manager has spoken out, calling the crimes “unthinkable.”
Paula Peltonovich’s father Nicholas Pichowicz wrote in his will that he wanted his remains donated to Harvard’s medical school. He passed away in 2019 at the age of 87.
Peltonovich explained that she contacted Harvard as soon as she heard that several people had been indicted for stealing and selling body parts from the school’s morgue.
“We were just disgusted,” Peltonovich told the Boston Globe on Thursday. “Sick, like we were going to throw up.”
Peltonovich told the outlet that Harvard confirmed her father “was a victim” of the trafficking scheme.
“It’s just unthinkable. There’s no words,” the distraught daughter added. She said she was unable to get more information because of the pending legal matters.
Former Harvard Medical School morgue manager Cedric Lodge was indicted by a federal grand jury on Wednesday, along with alleged complices Katrina Maclean, Joshua Taylor and Jeremy Pauley. His wife Denise Lodge was also indicted for her suspected role in the trafficking.
Authorities believe Lodge stole organs and other parts of donated cadavers before they were to be cremated. He allegedly took some of the remains to his New Hampshire home between 2018 and 2022.
The Globe reported that Lodge was fired on May 6. According to the indictment, which was obtained by Fox News Digital, many of the body parts were reportedly shipped to buyers through the U.S. Postal Service.
“At times [Lodge] stole dissected portions of donated cadavers, including, for example, heads, brains, skin, bones, and other human remains,” the indictment said.
In one disturbing instance, authorities said Lodge sold two “dissected faces” to Salem-based Maclean for $600.
Harvard Medical School (HMS) issued a statement addressing the incident titled “An abhorrent betrayal.”
“We are so very sorry for the pain this news will cause for our anatomical donors’ families and loved ones, and HMS pledges to engage with them during this deeply distressing time,” the statement read.
The body of Peltonovich’s mother was also donated to Harvard Medical School in March, according to the Globe. Peltonovich said her family is now working to get her mother’s body back from Harvard, if possible.
“We want her returned, so we can bury her,” she said. “We don’t even want them to cremate her.”