Victims of what might be one of the worst scams in Montrose, Colorado history are still waiting for some much-deserved justice.

In 2020 the U.S. Department of Justice reported that Megan Hess and her mother, Shirley Koch, the former owners and operators of Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors were arrested for illegally selling body parts or entire bodies without the consent of the family of the deceased.

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Sunset Mesa Funeral Home Opens In Montrose, Colorado

The business opened its doors back in 2010 and operated until 2018 under the guise of providing burial and cremation services.

The Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors would charge $1,000 or more for cremations, but most likely rarely cremated anyone.

In reality, Hess and Koch were allegedly lining their pockets with profits directly acquired from duping their clients and providing fake cremains of the deceased.

"To those who would commit such self-serving acts of callous greed, we will diligently and tirelessly work to bring you to justice,” said FBI Denver Assistant Special Agent in Charge Dameon Hutto.

Behind The Closed Doors of Sunset Mesa Funeral Home

Before opening the funeral home, Hess had actually created a nonprofit in 2009 called Sunset Mesa Funeral Foundation, d/b/a Donor Services, a body broker service.

This nonprofit was listed and operated at the same location as the funeral home.

Unbeknownst to the families and friends of the deceased, Hess and Koch were illegally transferring and selling whole bodies and body parts to third parties for profit.

The U.S. Department of Justice also reports that Hess and Koch would sell bodies and body parts of those who had died from, "infectious diseases, including Hepatitis B and C, and HIV, after certifying to buyers that the remains were disease free."

Sunset Mesa Funeral Home Victims Waiting for Justice

According to a report from Western Slope Now,  a status conference for Hess and Koch occurred on January 19, 2022.

The status conference led to another delay to justice and now the jury trial has been pushed to August 1, 2022.

Victims of Hess and Koch are still traumatized from learning the horrific details of Sunset Funeral Homes' crimes. After lab testing, it was discovered that some of the "cremations" given to clients consisted of concrete mix or kitty litter according to the Montrose Press.

“The defendants are charged with committing a blatant fraud on many, many victims.  This betrays a fundamental trust during one of the worst times in a person’s life – having to make arrangements for a deceased loved one,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.

“It is hard to imagine the pain and worry of those who used Sunset Mesa and not knowing what happened to their loved ones’ remains.”

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