Fetuses Found at Funeral Home Were University Collection

Fetuses Found at Funeral Home Were University Collection

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — Police say the remains of roughly 50 fetuses found at a Pocatello, Idaho funeral home were part of a biological collection that Idaho State University provided to the funeral home for cremation in 2017.

The fetuses and at least 12 other decomposing bodies were discovered at the Downard Funeral Home after a state health inspector alerted police. Investigators have been working to identify the remains.

The business was previously in charge of donating cadavers to Idaho State University for scientific study, but the relationship ended last year after the university had stopped receiving donations for a time. On Thursday, ISU spokesperson Stuart Summers said in a prepared statement that the fetuses recovered from Downard Funeral Home were part of a decades-old biology collection showing fetal development, and that the collection had been brought to the funeral home for cremation four years ago, the Idaho State Journal reported.

The university decided to have the collection cremated after the Idaho Legislature passed a law in 2016 banning public institutions from using fetal or embryonic tissue or stem cells for research or study. The majority of the collection had been donated to ISU before 1981, Summers said.

Police have identified about half of the bodies found at the home, but are asking for the public’s help identifying the rest of them.

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