Police waiting on autopsy to determine next steps after fetus found in box of paper towels in Mississippi storage unit

Published 5:13 pm Thursday, August 12, 2021

Police say they are waiting on autopsy results to determine the next steps after the remains of what appears to be a human fetus were discovered in a box of paper hand towels in a storage unit.

Adams County Corner James Lee said that he was called to a storage unit at 6 p.m. Wednesday to investigate the discovery in a storage unit near Liberty Road.

Natchez Police Chief Joseph Daughtry said police are treating this as a death investigation and will know more after autopsy.

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“Right now, we’re waiting on the coroner,” he said. “The coroner has to do an autopsy and we are trying to work some leads to find out who might’ve given birth. We’re not exactly sure of the age of the fetus, which is one of the reasons we have to wait for an autopsy so we can start checking hospital records to see who it could possibly be. Our concern is also for the well-being of the mother. We want to be sure if something did happen, did she get proper medical attention so we’re concerned about the mother as well.”

Lee said while having a miscarriage is not illegal, when someone abandons a child of any age they are “asking for trouble.” Lee also said he is sure that whoever the mother is would have needed medical attention for bleeding and possible infections.

“In my opinion, there are better ways to handle it than deserting a fetus in box,” he said.

Lee said in his experience as a coroner, similar discoveries were made in Adams County a few times before but “it doesn’t happen often.”

Lee said he estimates that the gestational age of the fetus is between 16 and 24 weeks old, which needs to be confirmed.

The remains will be sent to the state crime lab for an autopsy that will help investigators learn the gestational age of the fetus, whether there was any trauma and how long the remains were left in the storage unit, he said.

“The autopsy shouldn’t take but a few days in this case,” he said.