Last Seen

Last Seen


Season 4: "Postmortem" is about the stolen bodies of Harvard and the gray market for human remains. Find out what happened at Harvard Medical School: how body parts were stolen and sold across the country. Who did this and why?


Postmortem, Ep. 5: A reckoning

In Episode 5 of Postmortem: The Stolen Bodies of Harvard, reporter Ally Jarmanning digs deeper into the "legitimate" realm of body-parts collecting ⁠— museums ⁠— and asks the burning question: How different is this from the world of Jeremy Pauley in his basement or Cedric Lodge seizing a financial opportunity at Harvard's morgue. At the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, she takes us through displays of skeletons and sometimes-troubling human specimens. What comes up here and at museums around the country ⁠— did the people who used to belong to these bodies ever imagine themselves in a jar, or on a shelf? Did they give permission for decades of gawking? After all this reporting, Jarmanning examines the ethics of it all, probing how we should treat the dead, and who gets to decide. And she returns us to Harvard, where hardly anyone, except Lodge, has been held to account. If you have questions, comments or tips about this story, you can reach us at
01/05/2428m 42s

Postmortem, Ep. 4: The anatomy lab

As haunting as the Harvard morgue scandal is, you don't have to go back very far in history to find practices for sourcing bodies that would be shocking today. Reporter Ally Jarmanning finds that for more than a century, medical schools relied on grave robbing and body snatching to supply anatomical dissection classes. In Episode 4 of Postmortem: The Stolen Bodies of Harvard, she talks to medical school professors and historians about this grim reality, shedding light on how new the notion of ethics in this field is. And we hear from an FBI agent who's investigated the world of body brokers. If you have questions, comments or tips about this story, you can reach us at
01/05/2423m 47s

Postmortem, Ep. 3: The collectors

Who are the people buying this stuff anyway? People who collect human remains don’t see it as gross. In fact, these collectors connect and communicate openly on social media. In Episode 3 of Postmortem: The Stolen Bodies of Harvard, reporter Ally Jarmanning meets Jeremy Pauley, the Pennsylvania man with a tattooed eye whose arrest unravels this whole case. Jarmanning dines in the home of a Delaware couple with a house full of skeletons; they call themselves “rescuers” of human remains. And she introduces us to Mike Drake, a New York City collector. Through all these conversations, it becomes clear: There's no solid ethical line in this world of remains collectors; everyone is making up their own rules. If you have questions, comments or tips about this story, you could reach us at
01/05/2435m 50s

Postmortem, Ep. 2: The victims

When news of the Harvard morgue scandal went viral, no one was hit harder than the families of people who had donated their bodies for study at the nation's most prestigious medical school. As if grieving the loss of a loved one wasn't enough, now there was this: the specter of a family member's body dismembered and sold to strangers for profit. In Episode 2 of Postmortem: The Stolen Bodies of Harvard, reporter Ally Jarmanning talks with Amber Haggstrom, whose mother donated her body to Harvard after death. We hear Haggstrom's outrage and raw emotion as she learns the news — and her frustration at Harvard's lack of answers as to how it failed to protect her mother's body. We hear, too, from the attorney representing the families, and trying to hold Harvard accountable. If you have questions, comments or tips about this story, you can reach us at
01/05/2429m 10s

Postmortem Ep. 1: The crime

Hundreds of people have donated their bodies to Harvard Medical School, hoping to advance science and train the next generation of doctors. But in the basement of the nation's most prestigious medical institution, something went terribly wrong in recent years. In the five-part series Postmortem: The Stolen Bodies of Harvard, WBUR reporter Ally Jarmanning takes us deep into the macabre story of what happened, and how the elite university became a stop on a nationwide network of human remains trading. In Episode 1, police find buckets of body parts in a basement in Pennsylvania. We hear from the district attorney there and learn more about how this case connects to Harvard and Cedric Lodge, the morgue manager accused of stealing and selling donor body parts. An old classmate of Lodge's reflects on the man at the center of the scandal. And doctors who know Harvard well ponder how this could have happened — here, of all places. If you have questions, comments or tips about this story, you can reach us at
01/05/2425m 38s

TRAILER: Last Seen S4 'Postmortem': The Stolen Bodies of Harvard

Hundreds of people donated their bodies to Harvard Medical School hoping to advance science and train the next generation of doctors. Meanwhile, prosecutors say that for years, the school's morgue manager treated it like a storefront, letting potential customers browse body parts and bringing home skin and brains to be shipped out to people across the country. Last year's arrest of the morgue manager, Cedric Lodge, exposed a nationwide network of human remains swapping that ensnared Harvard and lay bare the school’s broken promises to donors. In this five-part narrative series, host and reporter Ally Jarmanning explains what happened at Harvard, talks to donor families about their interrupted grief, and meets with human remains collectors to find out why they’re interested in this macabre field. We explore the dark origins of our nation’s medical schools. And we try to answer the haunting questions that drive the series: How should we treat the dead? And who gets to decide? All 5 episodes coming soon. Follow Last Seen wherever you get your podcasts. Resources: Read more about WBUR's reporting on the case here.
16/04/242m 54s

Last Seen presents: "Beyond All Repair," a new murder mystery podcast

Introducing Beyond All Repair, a new WBUR podcast hosted by Amory Sivertson. This series tells the story of a murder, but also the woman who was accused of that murder, Sophia. Sophia was newly married and six months pregnant when she was charged with murdering her mother-in-law in 2002. She gave birth to a son in jail that she hasn’t seen since, and for the last three years, she’s been telling me her story in hopes of getting justice for her mother-in-law, of having a chance of meeting her son, and of finally being believed. This is the first chapter of Beyond All Repair. Episode 2 is already waiting for you. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
11/03/2425m 33s

A family's peace | Part III

On a sunny Saturday in 2016, Benine Timothee left her house to visit a friend who lived close by and never returned. She had lived in the United States for only three months when she was shot and killed outside a corner store in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood. No arrests have been made, and there are no suspects in the case. This is the third and final episode of our three-part series, A Family's Peace, reported by independent investigative journalist Shannon Dooling. Benine's homicide is still unsolved, and Boston police haven't offered updates to her family in years. In Part III, Shannon talks to the Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney to get the insider scoop on how unsolved homicide cases are handled. Feeling left behind, Andre, Benine's widower, continues to search for answers and workarounds that don't involve law enforcement. Finally, we hear from Benine's children, Jephte and Nelissa, about how much their lives have changed since their mother's death, and how the family goes on living, with or without closure.
27/12/2228m 22s

A family's peace | Part II

On a sunny Saturday in 2016, Benine Timothee left her house to visit a friend who lived close by and never returned. She had lived in the United States for only three months when she was shot and killed outside a corner store in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood. No arrests have been made, and there are no suspects in the case. This is the second episode of our three-part series, A Family's Peace, reported by independent investigative journalist Shannon Dooling. In part two, we learn just how hard it has been for Benine's family to get any  details surrounding her death, and why. Despite the hurdles, Shannon tracks down new insights to share with Benine's family members. She also dives into a theory that has haunted Boston's Haitian community for years about who really killed Benine.
20/12/2229m 8s

A family's peace | Part I

On a sunny Saturday in 2016, Benine Timothee left her house to visit a friend who lived close by and never returned. She had lived in the United States for only three months when she was shot and killed outside a corner store in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood. No arrests have been made, and there are no suspects in the case. For six years, her family and others have been haunted by the question — what really happened to their mother, wife, and friend on that October afternoon in 2016? In this three-part series for Last Seen, independent investigative reporter Shannon Dooling joins Benine's family members on their quest for truth and information. Together, they explore what it means to go on living, after losing a loved one so suddenly, with no explanation. And if it's possible to ever find peace, in the absence of closure. In this first episode, we learn about Benine's life in Haiti, her family's hopes and dreams of a new life in Boston, and why her husband and children feel forgotten by law enforcement.
13/12/2223m 29s

The Guilty Plate

This week, we're bringing you another food-related mystery - this time from our friendly neighbors to the north, Vermont Public and Brave Little State producer Josh Crane. If you go out to eat right now, you’re likely to run into restaurants that are struggling because they’re missing a crucial ingredient: staff. In this episode, Josh sets out to solve the mystery of the COVID-era restaurant industry exodus, by telling the story of one Vermont diner, The Guilty Plate. The full version of this story was originally published on December 1, 2022 on Vermont Public's podcast, Brave Little State.
06/12/2230m 29s

Chinese pie

Mashed potatoes, corn and ground beef. These aren't the ingredients for shepherd's pie, but for Chinese pie, a traditional and very famous French Canadian dish. WBUR producer Amanda Beland, grew up eating Chinese pie, or pâté chinois, with her French Canadian family. But the pie's origins have always been a culinary mystery. In this episode of Last Seen, Amanda talks to historians and culinary experts to reveal where pâté chinois comes from, and how it might have gotten that name.
29/11/2232m 20s

Confectioner's Row

For years, WBUR senior arts and culture reporter Andrea Shea drove by an old, mysterious factory in Cambridge, Mass. To her surprise, it turned to be the last vestige of a 20th century candy hub called Confectioner's Row. Manufacturing jobs dried up, and only one factory, Cambridge Brands, remains. In this episode of Last Seen, Andrea walks us through the history of Confectioner's Row and meets face-to-face with the CEO of Cambridge Brands — who is touted as a real life Willy Wonka.
22/11/2228m 32s

Berried treasure

WBUR senior arts reporter Amelia Mason is on the hunt to solve a mystery that has been haunting her for years: why are black raspberries so hard to find? The answer takes us through grocery stores, farms, foraging expeditions, and Amelia's own childhood backyard.
14/11/2230m 8s

Trailer: 'Last Seen,' Season 3

The third season of Last Seen, coming November 2022, is a collection of personal and political mysteries from public radio storytellers that you won't want to miss.
09/11/221m 35s

Episode 10: Searching for a Miracle

On his way to Hollywood, a young Black man named Winston Willis stopped in Cleveland in 1959 to shoot a little pool and walked away $35,000 richer. He used his winnings to open over two dozen businesses on Cleveland's East Side, a vibrant area that locals referred to as "Inner City Disneyland." For a time, Willis was a multi-millionaire, the largest employer of Black people in the Midwest, and a bold business mogul with a big reputation. Nowadays, there's no trace of the "Miracle on 105th Street". That same intersection is dominated by the campus of a non-profit hospital system. And most people growing up in Cleveland today have never heard of Winston Willis. Cleveland writer and race educator Ajah Hales examines the forces that punished Willis for daring to live the American dream, and goes on a search for his missing legacy.
29/03/2255m 14s

Episode 9: Bad Actor

People will tell you Richard Bento is a good actor — on and off the stage. Over the past decade, he's been a pillar of the New England community theater scene - acting in and directing countless productions, and fostering the love of theater in other thespians. But lately, he's been at the center of some real life dramas swirling behind the scenes,  involving accusations of fraud, embezzlement, and other kinds of scams. After disappearing from one local theater for a time, he's been known to pop up at another and pull his stunts all over again, leaving a wake of mistrust and missing funds behind. Reporter and producer Quincy Walters (WBUR) investigates Bento’s con artistry and his most recent vanishing act.
22/03/2240m 43s

Episode 8: The Emotional Lives of Everyday Objects

Many prized possessions and artifacts imbued with sentimental value go missing, unintentionally. But, what about when we choose to renounce the items that mean the most to us -- like that mixtape your old girlfriend made, right before she broke up with you? The Nirvana baseball cap you wore to a Kurt Cobain memorial? Or the Sorel boots your father-in-law gave you, right before he died? Join arts and culture journalist Allyson McCabe (Lost Notes, Short Cuts) as she weaves together personal stories of objects in flux with artistic attempts to convey their spiritual significance in our everyday lives. As Allyson discovers, getting rid of your baggage isn't quite as simple as getting rid of the bags.
15/03/2229m 45s

Episode 7: A Most Unusual Houseguest

When artist Alison Byrnes opened a package she had mailed to herself two years earlier, she was expecting to find a sealed box of her prints - but that's not what was inside. The United States Postal Service had made a rather serious mistake. Instead of artist prints, USPS delivered a little blue urn -- containing the ashes of a total stranger. Attempts at finding the family of the deceased failed, and the cremated remains of Jennings L. Heffelfinger sat abandoned and forgotten, year after year. That is, until 2019, when intrepid reporter Sophie Bearman took over the case. Determined to solve the mystery, Bearman embarks on a personal and professional journey to get the urn back where it belongs. But how much help is too much? Amid a pandemic that forces us to ponder mortality incessantly, Episode 7 offers a refreshing and unexpected take on life and loss.
08/03/2234m 29s

Episode 6: A Hole in the Silence

Spain has one of the highest number of forced disappearances in the world, second only to Cambodia. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and General Francisco Franco's dictatorship, fascist troops killed tens of thousands of people and threw them into mass graves. For decades, few people knew this — and no one in Spain talked about it. But in the year 2000, a man in the middle of an identity crisis began digging into his family's past, searching for a grandfather who had gone missing in the war. What Emilio Silva discovered not only changed his own life - it inspired a social movement to recover Memoria Histórica, or historical memory, throughout Spain. In episode 6, audio producer and writer Isabel Cadenas Cañón (De eso no se habla) reveals the cultural transformation of a country through the personal transformation of one man.
01/03/2246m 2s

Episode 5: Belly Up

When three friends went on a rum-fueled rampage one night deep in the Nevada desert, they never expected the trouble they would find themselves in a week later. The men broke into a remote unit of Death Valley National Park known as Devil's Hole — a mysterious flooded cave that happens to be home to the one of the rarest fish on Earth, and one that's critically endangered too. This episode, based on Paige Blankenbuehler's High Country News feature, is a bite-size crime story starring an obscure species of tiny fish, and some hedonistic humans who stepped a little too far over the line, and suffered some big consequences. Last Seen host Nora Saks dives into the fraught relationship between humans and nature, and the long arm of the law intended to protect our most vulnerable species.
22/02/2238m 26s

Episode 4: Africa’s Lost Year of Hope

In 1960, dubbed "The Year Of Africa", a pair of bold leaders fanned the flames of hope for a brighter future in the Belgian colony of Congo. But by the following year, that hope had been dashed by outside forces. Using traditional griot storytelling, writer Brenton Zola transports us to a turning point in Congo's path to independence, and remembers the future that almost was.
14/02/2243m 50s

Episode 3: The Lost World

Every school kid learns that there are exactly eight planets in our solar system. But what if we told you there might be a ninth? A world that may be six times the size of Earth and take 12,000 years to orbit the Sun. The only thing is, while some scientists are convinced Planet Nine exists, no one has seen it. Yet. Science journalist and WBUR producer Dean Russell (Endless Thread) traces the lives of two astronomers, separated by a century, bound by their thirst for finding that missing planet. This Last Seen story of obsession reveals the unexpected reward when one astronomer gets it wrong — and the fallout when another gets it, seemingly, right.
08/02/2235m 56s

Episode 2: Out of Time

Freeports are the most expensive and secretive warehouses in the world, which now hide some of the world’s cultural treasures from the public eye. Join Ben Brock Johnson as he traces the path of one lost Modigliani painting, "Seated Man with a Cane," and attempts to catch a glimpse inside these high-tech storage dungeons.
31/01/2237m 27s

Episode 1: Murph

In 1964, Jack Murphy, or "Murph the Surf," pulled off the biggest jewel heist in New York City history only to be caught 48 hours later. Amory Sivertson traces the enigmatic life of this folk hero and examines why men like him continue to be idolized.
31/01/2236m 56s

Trailer: 'Last Seen,' Season 2

The new season, coming out Feb. 1, has 10 new true-crime mysteries that you don’t want to miss.
19/01/221m 19s

Coming in February: Things that have gone missing

WBUR’s popular true-crime podcast returns, with mysterious tales about people, places, ashes, planets, endangered species, feelings and much more.
04/11/212m 31s

Episode 10: 'Last Seen' Live

A behind-the-scenes conversation about how we investigated the most sensational unsolved art heist in history.

Episode 9: 'The Big Dig'

We follow a mobster's tip to excavate a lot in Orlando.
12/11/1838m 17s

Episode 8: 'Flimflammer'

After a parallel heist gone wrong, did Brian McDevitt succeed at the Gardner Museum?
05/11/1843m 51s

Episode 7: 'I Was The One'

Was the world's greatest art thief the inspiration, or actually the mastermind, of the Gardner heist?
29/10/1836m 51s

Episode 6: 'Befriend And Betray'

This is a story about how to plot an art recovery, and then blow it entirely.
22/10/1832m 4s

Episode 5: 'The Bobbys'

We trace the art's possible path from Boston to Connecticut to Philadelphia.
15/10/1833m 2s

Episode 4: 'Two Bad Men'

Were George Reissfelder and David Turner involved in the Gardner heist?
08/10/1840m 36s

Episode 3: 'Not A Bunch Of Jamokes'

Was the heist planned in the belly of Boston's criminal underworld operating out of a Dorchester auto body shop?
01/10/1837m 15s

Episode 2: 'Inside Job?'

On the night of the heist, security guard Rick Abath made the critical mistake of letting the thieves into the museum. In this episode, we ask if it was indeed a mistake.
24/09/1833m 23s

Episode 1: '81 Minutes'

In 1990, two thieves stole 13 irreplaceable artworks from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. We take a closer look at what happened that night.
14/09/1835m 11s

Introducing 'Last Seen'

A look into the largest unsolved art heist in history: the theft of 13 irreplaceable artworks from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. "Last Seen" begins Sept. 17.
16/07/183m 12s
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