Dead babies found in Finland cellar

The apartment building where a 35-year-old woman, who was arrested on suspicion of the manslaughter of five babies, resided in Oulu, northern Finland. REUTERS/Markku Ruottinen/Lehtikuva
The apartment building where a 35-year-old woman, who was arrested on suspicion of the manslaughter of five babies, resided in Oulu, northern Finland. REUTERS/Markku Ruottinen/Lehtikuva
Finnish police have found five badly decomposed human foetuses in the storage room of an apartment building in the northern town of Oulu and have arrested a woman resident on suspicion of manslaughter, authorities say.

Police checking the contents of packages found in the cellar by maintenance workers on Tuesday (local time) were approached by a 35-year-old woman who told them they contained the remains of stillborn babies to which she had given birth at her home 5-10 years ago.

Detective Inspector Seppo Leinonen said police arrested the woman, who is married with children.

"We are investigating the case as a homicide as the foetuses are so close to full term that under normal conditions they would have been viable to survive," Leinonen told Reuters.

He said police believed the corpses of the nearly full-term foetuses could be several years old.

Leinonen would not give further information about the woman or comment on the number or ages of her living children. Her family moved into the building only a few months ago, and police suspect she brought the bodies from her previous residence.

A maintenance company had alerted the police after locating packages emitting a foul odour in the cellar at her apartment building in Oulu, a city of 200,000 people that was once a key Nokia research and development site.

Leinonen said there was no reason to believe anyone besides the woman knew of the hidden bodies. Some of the bodies were badly decomposed, complicating the investigation, he added.

"The woman has not been able to give any intelligible reason for her actions," Leinonen said.

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