Two jaws containing the remains of two babies between 20 and 26 weeks gestation were found in the basement of a home in Hannibal, Missouri where abortions were once preformed.
KHQA is reporting that the jars were found by two workmen who were renovating an old home which was allegedly used as an illegal abortion clinic in the early 1900s.
“I know they did medical procedures and stuff,” said the property’s owner, William C. Neff. “I was told that they helped a lot of ladies. That’s all I know.”
Marion County Coroner Darrell McCoy told KHQA the fetuses appear to be at 20 weeks and 26 weeks gestation and are somewhere between 50 and 60 years-old which makes it difficult to determine gender. Although he can’t be sure exactly how the babies died, he did say that it was not uncommon in those days for doctors, physicians and even school teachers to have fetuses preserved in jars.
The property was a clinic before Neff’s parents purchased it around 1950 and used it as his father’s chiropractic office.
Hannibal History Museum curator Lisa Marks confirmed that in the early 1900s the building was used as a clinic by a doctor named Hopkins or Hayes.
The jars were found beneath an old medical examining in a ceramic container covered with a cloth.
According to Neff, they weren’t the first such items discovered in the basement. He told KHQA that when he was a child, his parents told him that there were many more similar jars in the basement but that his parents rarely spoke about what they found down there.
“They didn’t want to talk about it too much,” he said, “but they just found stuff down there that shouldn’t be there.”
Police said a local funeral home donated a casket and a burial plot to give the remains a proper burial. Services are expected to take place at 10:00 a.m. today.
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