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Grisly scene | FBI finds stolen human remains 'decorated' around Kentucky man's home

When police arrived at the apartment, an FBI agent asked James Nott if anyone else was in the home with him. "Only my dead friends," he responded.

MOUNT WASHINGTON, Ky. — Authorities discovered a grisly scene after executing a federal search warrant on a Mount Washington man's home earlier this week.

On July 11, the FBI searched James William Nott's home in connection to stolen human remains being sold and shipped through online marketplaces.

When police arrived at the apartment, an FBI agent asked Nott if anyone else was in the home with him. "Only my dead friends," he responded.

Inside, police found dozens of human remains including 40 human skulls, spinal cords, femurs and hip bones. 

An agent later wrote that the skulls were "decorated around the furniture."

"One skull had a head scarf around it. One skull was located on the mattress where Nott slept," they said in a court document.

This brought fear to neighbors.

"He just lived over here so I'm shocked and nervous now that something like that could be going on," neighbor Caroline Branum said.

The FBI began investigating Nott after it was discovered he had chatted with Jeremy Pauley, a man from Pennsylvania who was also being investigated for his role in a nationwide scheme to purchase and sell stolen human remains.

Authorities said Pauley provided federal investigators with information on a network of individuals in the scheme, including Cedric Lodge, the morgue manager for the Harvard Medical School who was charged last month.

Police said a Harvard Medical bag was also found in Nott's home.

Within the past year, authorities said, Pauley was communicating with someone named "William Burke" on Facebook about purchasing skulls and spines.

The two exchanged PayPal information and the information "Burke" had sent was linked back to a PayPal account registered to Nott.

Law enforcement officers viewed Nott's public Facebook profile and saw him posting about human remains for sale on Facebook as recently as June 2023, according to the document.

Following Tuesday's raid in Mount Washington, Nott was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm as a prohibited person.

The documents say agents also found an AK-47 rifle near Nott's bed along with a .38 caliber revolver, several fully loaded and unloaded rifle magazines, extra ammunition, inert grenades, and two plates of body armor.

"[It's] scary because we got young kids around here and he could just go off the deep end, who knows," Branum said.

This story will be updated.

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