The remains of 248 human fetuses were found in a Russian forest on Monday, approximately three miles off a road in the Sverdlovsk region. Sverdlovsk police said the foetuses, preserved in formaldehyde and sealed in four plastic barrels, still had tags marked with surnames and numbers.
Reports conflict on whether or not they are the aftermath of abortion or the result of stillbirths and miscarriages, but they appear to have come from multiple hospitals. Grisly details ahead, via the Telegraph:
Investigators are trying to establish how long the four 50-litre plastic barrels had lain in the forest. The foetuses had been kept in formaldehyde but because the lids had come off the containers some of them had spilt out and were mummified. Vladimir Vlasov, deputy head of the regional government, said it appeared that a company responsible for disposing of the remains had dumped the barrels. “All those who are guilty of this will be punished,” he added, saying that could include a criminal prosecution.
In one of the story’s more unsettling details, the Telegraph notes that Russian doctors and public health experts have previously warned of a large illegal trade in the former Soviet Union for human embryos and foetuses… which are used in untested beauty treatments.