By Reuters – October 21, 2014
The Winnipeg police said Tuesday that they had discovered four infants’ remains — a number they could not cite with certainty — in a storage locker. They found the remains on Monday after being notified by the storage company, Constable Eric Hofley said. The episode “leaves many questions unanswered,” he said.
Police in Winnipeg are expected to provide an update today on the discovery of the remains of up to four babies in a storage locker.
Staff at a Winnipeg U-Haul facility found the bodies of as many as four infants while they were performing a routine inventory Monday of a storage locker with a delinquent owner.
Police were called immediately and removed several bodies in “various” states of decomposition, Const. Eric Hofley said at a press conference Tuesday.
“The remains were in a state such as it’s not obvious yet exactly whether we are dealing with four separate remains or three,” he said.
Staff at the U-Haul location in central Winnipeg near McPhillips St. and William Ave. refused to comment when reached by the Star. Razmin Mansoub, marketing company president for the U-Haul Company of Central Canada, confirmed employees made the discovery.
Winnipeg U-Haul locker contained 6 dead babies
Winnipeg police have charged a 40-year-old woman after the remains of 6 babies were found inside a storage locker.
Andrea Giesbrecht, who is also known as Andrea Naworynski, was arrested outside a home in The Maples neighbourhood and charged with six counts of concealing the body of a child.
The disturbing discovery was made by employees at a U-Haul facility in the city’s West Alexander neighbourhood Monday afternoon.
The U-Haul employees had gone in to clean out the locker because rental payments had not been made.
Police initially said they believed there were three or four bodies found in various states of decomposition, but they have now increased that to six.
Autopsies were planned on the remains to determine the cause of death and their ages, police said.
“A lengthy forensic examination and analysis, expected to be months in duration, has begun,” police stated in a news release on Wednesday.
Members of the police service’s child abuse unit are investigating, and depending on where that leads, members of the homicide unit could join in, police said.
Greg Brodsky, Giesbrecht’s lawyer, said he’ll be going to court on Thursday to set a bail hearing date for his client.
He said Giesbrecht was first arrested for homicide but those charges were changed to the offence of concealing bodies.
Police unclear how Giesbrecht came into possession of bodies. Not clear if she is the mother
The discovery of several dead babies in a Winnipeg storage locker is “tragic beyond belief,” say police.
Three or four bodies were found Monday afternoon in various states of decomposition, said police spokesman Const. Eric Hofley.
Autopsies are planned on the remains to determine exactly how many there are and the cause of death, he said. The autopsies will also determine their age.
Hofley said the bodies were newborns or someone “of a very young age.” They were “certainly not children,” he said, calling the situation “very disturbing” and “tragic beyond belief.”
“All that information will hopefully be determined as the days progress,” he said. “We will have further information tomorrow [Wednesday], I do know that for a fact.”
Hofley told reporters on Tuesday that in his 14 years as an officer he has never experienced anything like this.
‘How does that even happen?’
Police would not reveal the name of the storage facility, but CBC News has learned it was U-Haul on McPhillips Street and Elgin Avenue in the city’s West Alexander neighbourhood.
The bodies were found by employees who phoned police at about 1 p.m.
Sources told CBC News it’s a “gruesome scene” like something from a horror movie. It isn’t clear how long the bodies had been in the locker.
Barrington Francis, who rents a storage unit in the same facility, said he learned of the grisly discovery on the news Tuesday morning.
“I didn’t expect to get up in the morning and hear that four infants are dead in a storage unit. That’s bizarre and I don’t know how that even happens,” he said.
“How does that even happen, when you sneak four infants into a storage unit and nobody sees it, nobody knows?”
Storing human remains illegal, police say
Hofley said members of the Winnipeg Police Service’s child abuse unit are investigating, and depending on where that leads, members of the homicide unit could join in.
Even if it’s found there was no foul play involved, there will likely still be charges.
“Obviously, you’re not allowed to store or conceal human remains. That in itself would be a charge,” Hofley said.
“Again, until such time as the autopsies have determined what is the cause of this, we won’t know what the full extent of the charges may or may not be.”
Kirsten Kramar, a criminologist and the chair of the sociology department at the University of Winnipeg, says it’s “extremely rare” to find the bodies of several infants.
“These are the rarest of crimes. They garner a whole lot of attention, but they are extremely rare,” she told CBC News.
“There’s only one other case in recent history where two bodies of babies were found. That was in B.C., and the woman was just recently convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.”
Kramar said the challenge for investigators will be to determine whether the infants were born alive or not.
“Obviously, we don’t know who may have been present at the time of the birth,” she said.
“It’s extremely difficult for forensic scientists to tell us if the babies have been born alive or not, so that’s one of the challenges for sure.”
U-Haul ‘shocked and saddened’
U-Haul declined interview requests Tuesday but the company’s marketing president, Razmin Mansoub, released a statement saying it was “shocked and saddened” by the discovery.
The company would continue to co-operate with authorities, Mansoub added.
Full statement from U-Haul:
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.