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It turns out, you can't sell a mummy on eBay

The remains were found years ago in Detroit. They came to a Michigan woman. She tried to sell them. Bad move.

Published October 13, 2006

PORT HURON, Mich. - Officials are trying to track down the origins of a mummified human skeleton that a Michigan woman tried to sell on eBay.

The St. Clair County Medical Examiner's Office confiscated the mummified remains Tuesday from the home of Lynn Sterling.

Sterling, 45, told police she got the remains from a friend who works in demolition and said he found them in a Detroit school he helped tear down nearly 30 years ago, police said. She said she had contacted an attorney before posting the remains for sale.

"It's an anatomical, medical-use skeleton," Sterling told the Times Herald of Port Huron. "I would never have put it on (eBay) if I thought it was anything other than an anatomical, medical thing."

Sterling likely won't face charges, Port Huron police Capt. Don Porrett said, though officials said the remains will be sent to an anthropologist at Michigan State University for further examination.

St. Clair County Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz described the remains as an intact skeleton with mummified tissue. He said age, sex and race could not yet be determined, but said the remains appeared to be those of a child.

"It's very, very old. It's probably some type of anatomical dissection that was part of an anatomy class that over time got into the hands of somebody in the general public," Spitz said.

Port Huron police were notified about the eBay posting by a caller from North Carolina who saw the item on the online auction site, Porrett said.

EBay spokeswoman Catherine England said the posting was removed Wednesday because it violated a policy against selling human remains. The Web site allows the sale of skeletons for medical use, but not mummified remains.

Curiosity did attract at least one bid before the posting was removed.

"There was a bid on it for $500 from 'Satan's Child,' " Porrett said.

[Last modified October 13, 2006, 01:21:22]

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