Authorities in Thailand discovered the remains of some 2,000 fetuses in a Buddhist temple's mortuary after a strong stench drew attention. An preliminary investigation on Tuesday uncovered dozens of knotted, white plastic bags organized in rows containing remains, totaling 300 bodies. A more in depth investigation on Friday led by police Lt. Col. Kanathud Musignont uncovered thousands. Officials suspect the fetal remains were a result of illegal abortions and had been hidden in the temple's mortuary for well over one year.
Two undertakers and a clinic employee were arrested in relation to the investigation. The undertakers face up to one year in jail and 2,000 baht ($67 dollar) fines. The clinic employee, who confessed to delivering the fetal remains to morgue employees, faces up to five years of jail time and a fine of 10,000 baht ($333 dollars.) One of the undertakers confessed that he had collected fetuses since November 2009. Authorities are uncertain as to why the remains had not been cremated.
Abortion is considered illegal in Thailand unless a woman is raped, the pregnancy adversely affects the woman's health, or is the fetus is abnormal.