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Woman finds mummified baby in storage unit

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published January 24, 2007


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DELRAY BEACH - A woman cleaning out her dead parents' rented storage unit discovered a partially mummified baby boy, who apparently was born in the 1950s, wrapped in old newspaper and stuffed inside a suitcase, police said Tuesday.

An autopsy could only determine the child's sex. The body will be sent to a forensic anthropologist to determine a cause of death and whether the child was born alive, a process that could take months, said police spokesman Jeff Messer.

The storage unit had been rented by the couple in 1996, but the man died several years ago and the woman, who was in her 70s, died last year, Messer said.

The baby was found Monday night by the couple's daughter. She flew from New Jersey with her husband after receiving a letter stating that the contents of the storage unit would be auctioned off because the rent had not been paid for several months, Messer said.

"As they were cleaning it out, she came upon a big suitcase, opened that suitcase, found another smaller suitcase, opened it, and found a baby wrapped in a newspaper," he said.

The child's body was fully intact, had hair on its head and had "little fat cheeks," Messer said, calling the discovery spooky.

He said the woman who found the body "was a little rattled at first" and wondered, "Could this be a sibling?"

"It's obviously a concern of hers," Messer said. "Based on the condition of this baby, it could really be 50 years old."

Authorities were not immediately releasing the names of the couple or the daughter.

According to investigators, the child was wrapped in a newspaper called the Daily Times dated Jan. 9, 1957. They believe the paper was from New Jersey or New York.

Messer would not say whether DNA was extracted from the child to be compared to the daughter. But he noted that "there may have been more than one person who had access to that warehouse."

Investigators were releasing few details. They plan to interview friends and family of the couple to determine if the elder woman was ever pregnant with another child and it was kept "on the hush hush," Messer said.

[Last modified January 24, 2007, 00:24:04]


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