Unsuspecting Baldwin County woman buys human fetus and cremated remains at storage unit auction
ROBERTSDALE, Ala. (WALA) – In a disturbing story that spans both sides of Mobile Bay, a Baldwin County woman found cremated human remains and a fetus in a jar after buying a storage unit at a sale in online auctions. It wasn’t until she brought the boxes of Mobile home and started going through them that she made the bizarre discovery.
Rebekah McManus said this was her first time bidding on a storage unit. She had already purchased the contents of one storage unit from Mobile when the owner of the facility offered her a second when the unit’s highest bidder failed to show up. It was in this unit that several boxes containing the remains were found.
McManus didn’t know until he brought everything home from Mobile. Finding the ashes was quite disturbing. Then she opened another box.
“I found a fetus in a jar,” McManus said. “The jar was supposed to be…it wasn’t a specimen jar or anything.” It was supposed to be for sutures for an autopsy, I guess. I don’t know what happened with it or where they were going with it or why it was in there but I thought it was a heart when I opened it up and initially lifted it and it wasn’t not a heart. I freaked out a bit.”
McManus said she initially contacted the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office. They ordered him to call the Robertsdale police to take possession of the fetus.
“It was definitely not something we expected to face, or you know…it was hard to believe what we were told and obviously later what we saw,” Lt. Paul Overstreet recalled Robertsdale Police Department.
Overstreet said Robertsdale PD had opened an investigation as they would with the discovery of anyone who died, hoping to rule out foul play or any criminal element. The remains were taken to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Mobile.
Meanwhile, McManus has taken it upon himself to track down 13 families. The cremated remains are labeled by various third-party crematoria, giving it a starting point.
“The first families I contacted, uh…it was miscommunication,” McManus said. “Someone thought someone else had picked them up and they never did, so they were very happy to pick them up and have them in their hands. The others were really surprised because they didn’t weren’t expecting this phone call at all.
Some of the remains are a few years old while others are over two decades old. McManus gave us the names and death dates of five people whose families she is still trying to trace:
• Kendal Jay Brown cremated on: 01/18/15
• Irene Foster cremated: 02/07/93
• Willie Martin JR
•Jimmie Lee Craig: cremated: 07/09/97
• Melissa Stallworth cremated: 05/01/94
If you know how to reach any of the families, you are encouraged to email Rebekah McManus at [email protected] and be sure to write the name of your loved one in the subject line.
Although the company’s name was not released, McManus said the storage unit belonged to a funeral service in Mobile, which is no longer in operation.
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