Two newborn babies found dead in a trash-strewn North Philadelphia lot Sunday are "medical specimens" that had been preserved in some fashion, a city health department spokesman told NBC10 on Monday.
The infants, a baby boy and girl, likely came from a hospital or academic facility of some kind, Health Department spokesman Jeff Moran said. The babies' bodies had been preserved — presumably in formaldehyde — but it's unclear who preserved them, Moran said.
Investigators said Sunday the babies had cuts on their bodies that appeared to indicate they had previously undergone autopsies.
Police continue to investigate and are searching for a black pickup truck seen dumping trash in the area where the babies were found prior to their discovery. Detectives have been canvassing the neighborhood since Sunday in search of surveillance video.
Police said 9-year-old Kasime Crawford and another child found the dead infants Saturday night lying in a patch of grass next to a used-car lot on Mutter Street near Montgomery Avenue. Crawford told NBC10 he thought they were toys at first.
"Both of their faces were blue," Crawford said. "There's a doll baby. That's when it started stinking and that's when we checked and there was a baby. I went home and told my dad."
Residents returned to the lot Sunday morning and found the bodies, then called police. Police said medics pronounced the babies dead at the lot at 10:31 a.m. Both infants had cuts on them, while one had a clamp attached to the umbilical cord, police said.
"They were just thrown away like trash," said Stephanie Farrell, who lives near where the babies were found.
The medical examiner discovered that the bodies had possibly undergone autopsies at some point. Investigators have not yet determined how or when the babies died. They also have not yet determined how long they had been in the lot before they were found.
"You shouldn't throw little kids away," said Ronnie Jackson, Kasime's father. "You could've left them in the hospital, gave them to a charity, gave them to the fire department or knocked on my door and gave them to me."