A Missouri city official is apologizing after two selfies were taken of police officers near an area where an infant's body was discovered Thursday in a wooded area.
Officers with the Columbia Police Department, about 120 miles west of St. Louis, were in the photos taken on "national CityHallSelfie Day," intended to honor government service, said Steven Sapp, Columbia community relations director.
The body of the infant was found Thursday morning after police received a report of possible human remains in northern Columbia, authorities said in a statement.
"We understand that this was not an appropriate situation or location for these types of photos to be taken and we sincerely apologize to our community, on behalf of the unknown infant child, and to the Columbia Police Department,'' Sapp said in a statement Friday.
The photos were taken in an area outside where the remains were found and after the scene was cleared, Sapp said. The officers are smiling in the picture, which was posted to the police Twitter account and later removed.
A cause of death for the infant has not been determined, and police are asking for tips. Police said a preliminary autopsy conducted Friday could not determine the age or gender, NBC affiliate KOMU of Columbia reported. Police are contacting outside anthropologists for help.
Sapp said he takes full responsibility and that the appropriate coaching actions have been taken to ensure an incident like it is not repeated.
Suzanne Ciechalski is a New York-based reporter for NBC News' Social Newsgathering team.