PORT HURON (WWJ/AP) – Mummified skeletal remains of a child that were confiscated five years ago from the home of a Michigan woman who police say was trying to sell them on eBay are being returned a Maryland-based collection.
The Times Herald of Port Huron reports the remains were packaged Wednesday and shipped to the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which houses the Burns Collection. The mummy had been held at the Port Huron Police Department’s property room.
Chemical testing confirmed it was part of a Scottish collection of anatomical specimens from anatomist Allen Burns. Burns’ collection, which dates back to the early 19th century, was moved from Scotland to the US in 1820, when one of his students bought the collection and moved to Maryland. After the move, some specimens have disappeared.
Wade said by looking at the mummy he could tell it was part of the Burns Collection, even before tests were done. He said specimens in the collection are significant historically, since they show beginning stages of Western medicine. They were used to teach anatomy.
“It was a different time then, medicine was just coming about,” he said.
The remains were confiscated in 2006 after being spotted on the online auction website. The listing was removed because it violated a policy against selling human remains.
The woman who had the remains said at the time that she obtained remains from a friend who worked in demolition and who said he found them in a Detroit school he helped demolish about three decades earlier. Port Huron is located about 55 miles northeast of Detroit.
At the Port Huron Police Department, Lt. Duane Loxton said every time he would see the cardboard box holding the remains with warnings of its fragility scrawled across the top he’d see a small coffin. On Wednesday, he helped to package the remains to send them home.
Police investigated and determined that no charges would be brought in the case.
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