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Stolen human remains used as ‘decorations’ in Ky. man’s home

LOUISVILLE, KY. (WAVE/Gray News) – When FBI agents served a federal search warrant at a Kentucky apartment, they said they discovered dozens of human bones inside, some of which were being used as furniture.

As many as 40 skulls were found during a raid at James William Nott’s home Tuesday morning in Mount Washington, according to the criminal complaint.

WAVE News Troubleshooters broke the story about the raid while continuing to confirm details about suspected human remains. That confirmation came Wednesday morning, hours before Nott was to have a detention hearing on his recent arrest.

According to the complaint, Nott was part of a ring of purchasing and selling stolen human remains, some of which were tied back to the Harvard Medical scandal, which the FBI also recently busted. A Harvard medical bag was found in Nott’s home.

The complaint says the FBI was investigating body parts going missing from a mortuary. The leads gathered during the investigation led FBI agents to several players, including Nott.

The grisly discovery included hip bones and spinal cords which were being used as decorations around furniture. They also described as many as 40 skulls. One of them had a scarf tied around its neck, and another was found on the bed where Nott slept, agents said.

The complaint goes on to say that when an FBI agent asked Nott if anyone else was inside the apartment, Nott replied, “Only my dead friends.”

Investigators say Nott used the name “William Burke” on Facebook to sell the items. Some posts were as recent as June 2023, the documents state. In one transaction with a person named Jeremy Pauley out of Pennsylvania, Nott sent videos and pictures of the remains.

“How much total for the couple and the last video you sent plus the spines?” Pauley asked Nott.

He then tells Nott he will make sure he gets paid.

The investigation began after the Pennsboro Township Police Department received a tip about possible human remains inside of Pauley’s Pennsylvania home. When agents searched his home, they found human remains, including organs and skin, the documents state.

Pauley was in communication with an employee at a mortuary in Little Rock, Arkansas. That employee was stealing remains that were going to be cremated and selling them to Pauley, detectives determined. Those remains also included hearts, brains, lungs and two fetal specimens.

It was Pauly who told agents, the complaint states, about a network of stolen remains. Another individual suspected to be in the network was a man named Cedric Lodge who was the manager at the morgue for the Harvard Medical School Anatomical Gift Program.

Through the course of the investigation, agents discovered transactions Nott conducted.

Nott was arrested immediately after the raid Tuesday and was initially charged with having a firearm as a prohibited person. Agents found multiple loaded firearms in the home, including at least one AK-47. They also found inert grenades and two plates for body armor, the documents state.

After the raid, WAVE News Troubleshooters uncovered Nott had served about three years in prison in 2011 for having a “mass” collection of destructive device parts, including those for grenades and propellants. The ATF investigated that case. Those documents revealed Nott admitted to constructing destructive devices in the past.

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