- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PARIS (AP) — A French couple was in custody Wednesday after police found the corpses of eight newborn babies on their property in a village in northern France, a judicial official said.

The official said the detained couple, in their mid-40s, were the parents of the dead babies, and that the corpses were found on two different parts of the property in Villers-au-Tertre, not far from the city of Lille.

The official was not authorized to be publicly identified because the investigation is under way.

No other information was immediately available. The prosecutor for the Nord region is planning a news conference on Thursday.

France has seen a string of cases in recent years of mothers killing their newborns and saving and hiding the corpses.

In one case, Celine Lesage acknowledged in court in March that she killed six of her newborns, whose corpses were found in plastic bags in her basement in northwest France.

Another Frenchwoman, Veronique Courjault, was convicted last year of murdering three of her newborn children. Her husband discovered two of the corpses in a freezer while the two were living in South Korea. During the trial psychiatrists testified that she suffered from a psychological condition known as “pregnancy denial.”

Germany also has seen a string of similar cases. In one, a woman was convicted of manslaughter in 2006 and sentenced to the maximum 15 years in prison for killing eight of her newborn babies and burying them in flower pots and a fish tank in the garden of her parents’ home near the German-Polish border.