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Police investigating package containing 2 preserved fetuses that was sent to Philadelphia science museum

A letter in the package said a retired physician was donating the specimens to the Mütter Museum. No other information was provided.
The Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.
The Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.Hannah Beier for the Washington Post via Getty Images file

Philadelphia police are investigating the source of a package containing two preserved fetuses in glass jars sent to the city's medical and science Mütter Museum.

The museum staff reported receiving the package Tuesday morning, police said in a statement.

The package, which was addressed to the museum curator with no return address, contained a letter from someone claiming to be a retired physician who said the two specimens were a donation to the museum.

“There’s no type of proper paperwork, provenance or information about it that would enable us to accept that,” Anna Dhody, the museum’s curator, told NBC Philadelphia. “Obviously, because they appeared to be human remains, we had to call the authorities.”

The Mütter Museum, part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, displays preserved collections of anatomical specimens, models and medical instruments.

The museum does accept donations, but the process, especially for anything involving human remains, takes research and requires detailed accounts of objects’ histories.

Dhody, who has been the museum’s curator for almost 20 years, said the package donation was “atypical, abnormal and very much not the procedure.” She told NBC News she discourages others from sending such “unsolicited, anonymous remains.”

The fetuses have been turned over to the medical examiner’s office for further investigation. Police said they will provide more information as it becomes available.