A Colorado woman has been arrested for selling and attempting to ship the remains of stillborn babies through the mail. Emily Suzanne Cain, 38, has been charged with smuggling in violation of a federal law that forbids the sale of human fetal remains, according to the criminal complaint filed in Northern California federal court. She pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday, according to KUSA-TV, and was released on a $5,000 bond with a GPS monitor.
In October 2018, Cain allegedly attempted to mail a package from Canon City, Colorado, to the United Kingdom. The package was labeled with the words “school teaching aids and T-shirts” but caught the security guards’ attention when they noticed a signature was absent on a customs form that would certify that the package didn’t contain dangerous contents. They performed an X-ray on the package and saw a “human-like” shape. Inside were three glass jars with human remains, a note that apologized for the delay which was signed Emily, and a card that said “G. Howard McGinty, Director and Curator of McGinty Fine Oddities.” There was also a T-shirt with the depiction of a skull and Glen McGinty.
The bodies were found to be those of stillborn babies born from the 1920s to 1930s and donated to Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Cain was identified as the sender and had actually called the U.S. Postal Service twice to ask why her package hadn’t arrived at its destination. Cain’s fingerprints and a single print matching McGinty were found on the package.
When police searched Cain’s Facebook messages, they found her attempting to sell the bodies for prices up to $20,000. They also found a note to a Facebook user that she had “recently acquired a collection of three fetal wet specimens and one fetal skeleton wet specimen” which she said she had acquired as a collection. She wrote: “We don’t always post publicly. Especially with pieces like these …’ and ‘… too controversial to be up everywhere, for everyone to see. I try to keep them for the special clients and others we know may have interest in them.”
Another Facebook post says that Cain “explained that she recently purchased specimens from a female friend who is the head of the biomed department for a university who is downsizing.” The specimens were traced to the Department of Medical Education at Creighton University.
She sent even more photos to another Facebook user in August and said “sold a male fetus to this Facebook user for $500. And she told a friend she was selling “multiple human bones.”
The Department of Medical Education at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, confirmed that the three bodies found at the airport — and according to the complaint — “belonged to the university and originated from the anatomy department. The anatomy department believes that the fetuses were stillborn and had been donated to the university between 1920 and 1930. The university stated that if the fetuses were no longer going to be kept by the university, policy dictates the fetuses are to be cremated and not sold.”
The university is said to be cooperating with federal authorities.
Despite the fact that the babies are thought to be stillborn, the media and the university continue to refer to them as fetuses because they did not take a breath outside the womb.
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