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Why would someone steal a box of human heads??



A local story has gone somewhat viral over the last few days: “Box of human heads stolen in Denver.” I mean, who wouldn’t click on that headline?

Officials report the theft happened last week, sometime between 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday and 9:30 a.m. on Thursday. A freight truck delivering the heads for “medical research purposes” was parked in the 7700 block of E. 23rd Avenue in the Central Park neighborhood. No arrests have been made, no suspects have been named publicly, and Denver police are seeking tips from anyone who might have information.

A case this bizarre naturally opens the floodgates for questions you’re probably hesitant to have show up in your Google history, like: Why would anyone want a box of human heads?

For starters, the heads were probably worth at least $500 a piece, according to Westword, and possibly much more. Westword did a deep dive on the going rates for individual body parts back in 2018 when a Colorado law was passed, designed to prevent the illegal sale of human body parts, or “body brokering” as it’s also known. *Shivers*

You know what they say about rules… they’re only in place because someone, somewhere did something to warrant them. So who the HECK was doing this so-called body brokering??

A woman in Montrose named Megan Hess was.

Hess operated a funeral home called Sunset Mesa, and back in 2018, she was accused of peddling non-transplantable body parts for profit. (It’s important to note that there IS a difference between black market body brokering and medically harvesting organs for transplant.)

Hess’ business was raided by the FBI, and it was discovered that she was dismembering corpses and illegally (and irresponsibly) selling the body parts around the world, while returning empty caskets or urns filled with cement powder to the grieving family members.

(Don’t worry, Hess and her business partner were indicted by a federal grand jury in 2020 and each charged with six counts of mail fraud and three counts of illegal transportation of hazardous materials. If convicted, they each face up to 20 years in federal prison per mail fraud count, and up to a $250,000 fine per transportation count. The trial is set for August of this year.)

Now you’re probably asking, “but what are people doing with these illegally purchased body parts??” The short answer: cash. In the case of Hess, she was selling the body parts (unbeknownst and without consent from the loved ones of the deceased) to education and research organizations (who were equally unaware of her scheme) for personal profit.

But according to a Denver-based attorney named Michael Burg who Westword spoke to for the body brokering story, some illegally acquired body parts are allegedly sold to the Department of Defense and are “blown up like crash-test dummies.” 😳

I suppose we could assume the culprits of last week’s incident are evidence of a black market body brokering scheme right here in Denver. Or… perhaps it could have simply been a theft gone wrong. Police report that it’s unclear if the thieves knew what was in the box. Without opening it, the box was only vaguely labeled “Exempt Human Specimen” (or according to some reporting, even more vaguely, “Science Care”). And if that’s the case, they may be just as shocked about their loot as the rest of us.

Anyone with information about the missing heads — or if you are unfortunate enough to stumble upon them — is encouraged to contact officials at Metro Denver Crime Stoppers


Can Louisville Afford to Build Back Greener After the Marshall Fire? Can It Afford Not To?

More than 1,000 homes were destroyed when the Marshall Fire ripped through Louisville, Superior, and unincorporated Boulder County in late December, sending thousands of Coloradans headlong into an urgent search for an affordable place to live. Now that the dust has settled, all those families are thinking about rebuilding what was lost, and it’s going to be expensive — especially with the brand new climate-friendly building codes Louisville instituted last October.

Denver Post reporter Noelle Phillips has been covering the story, and she joins host Bree Davies to talk about the fire’s impact on our housing market, the cost of a “green” rebuild, and how Louisville residents are feeling about those new building codes now that it’s wildfire survivors who’ll be footing the bill.


Here are a few ways to honor the women inspiring our community everyday:

♀️ Read up: Check out this list of books and events from Denver Public Library that spotlight all the ladies who have shaped Denver, Colorado, and beyond.

♀️ Hear from today’s movers and shakers: Stop by the McNichols Civic Center Building this Wednesday to hear from hundreds of female leaders, activists, philanthropists, and community members who are inspiring change locally and globally.

♀️ Meet Denver’s kickass women: This Friday at the Sterling Event Space, the Extraordinary Women Connect gala will feature panel discussions with women from some of Denver’s largest companies and most successful startups. 


👩‍🚒 Speaking of inspiring women: Last month, the Denver Fire Department named Kathleen Vredenburgh deputy chief, making her the highest ranking woman in department history. Vredenburgh hopes her success will inspire positive change in the industry for other underrepresented groups. [CO Politics]

  • 💬  Vredenburgh says: “This to me is pushing against the glass ceiling, if not breaking it, in the Denver area.”

⛽ Gut-wrenching gas prices: If you’re someone who drives, you’ve likely already spotted the numbers on local gas station signs slowly creeping upwards. Thanks, at least in some part, to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the national average for gas prices surpassed $4 per gallon this week — the first time since 2008. Currently, the highest rate in the state has surged to $4.99 per gallon. [Denver Post]

  • 📈 Will it get worse? Most likely. At least, according to Patrick De Haan, a petroleum analyst: “Americans should prepare to pay more for gas than they ever have before.” 

🩰 Five Points arts center celebrated: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, a nonprofit facility known for uplifting BIPOC artists and performers, has been awarded a Colorado Community Revitalization Grant designed to provide gap funding for projects in creative and historic districts. CPRD has been a Denver arts staple in the Five Points neighborhood for decades. [Denverite]

  • 💰 Other recipients: Three other Denver institutions received CCRG funding, including The Lighthouse Writers Workshop, the historic Holiday Theater, and community service group Lifespan Local. 


RIGHT NOW: Send aid to Ukraine
Help raise funds to support Ukrainian aid efforts through your purchases at local businesses hosting fundraisers.

WEDNESDAY: Explore the Indigenous cultures of Mexico
“68 Voces, 68 Corazones” is an animated series of Indigenous stories each narrated in its original language and designed to promote pride and respect for the Indigenous cultures of Mexico. A virtual screening will take place tomorrow at 7 p.m.

THURSDAY: Fine dining for a good cause  
This annual culinary charity event allows guests to sample bites from Denver’s most elite chefs while raising money for the National Kidney Foundation.

THURSDAY: Buy all the books
At Tattered Cover Union Station’s Book Happy Hour you can buy two books and get the third one for 50% off.

SATURDAY: Get your green on
Denver’s official St. Patrick’s Day parade returns this weekend for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic two years ago. This year will mark the event’s 60th anniversary.

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