The remains of as many as four dead infants have been found in a storage locker in Winnipeg, police in Canada said yesterday.
Shocked staff at a storage locker company called police on Monday after they discovered the badly decomposed bodies, Winnipeg Constable Eric Hofley said.
Police could not say whether they were dealing with three or four bodies, and are keeping an open mind on whether the babies had been murdered.
He said tests would be carried out to determine how they met their deaths. Police are yet to determine how old the babies were, or even if they had grown to be full-term births.
Police said it was probable, given the size of the remaining bones, that the infants had been newborns.
They said the remains did not appear to be linked to any infants reported missing in the Winnipeg area in recent months.
The U-Haul storage locker facility where the bodies were found was closed and cordoned off with police tape yesterday.
Workers who were on site declined to comment to reporters gathered outside the facility.
In a statement, Razmin Mansoub, president of U-Haul Company of Central Canada, said: “U-Haul team members made a disturbing discovery when taking inventory of a delinquent storage locker on Monday. They immediately contacted law enforcement who believed the locker contained human remains.
“U-Haul is deeply shocked and saddened by this discovery. Out of respect for the ongoing investigation, U-Haul cannot comment with any further details. We will continue to fully co-operate with authorities.” Police yesterday said that, if the deaths were not a result of foul play, charges could still be filed against the person or persons responsible.
Mr Hofley said: “Obviously, you’re not allowed to store, to conceal, human remains. That, in itself, would be a charge.”
The full extent of possible charges will be determined once autopsies on all the bodies were completed, he said.
Kirsten Kramar, a criminologist at the University of Winnipeg, said police will have to consider very precise details when considering charges in this case.
She said part of that will be determining if the babies were ever alive or if they were stillborn, in which case charges would be improbable.
Ms Kramar said: “They could decide to proceed based on an old charge called concealment of birth, because that crime still exists on the books. And the crime of concealing or disposing of human remains is another option they can use.”