- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 19, 2019

A county sheriff in rural Illinois said Thursday that the boxes stacked inside a garage at a late abortionist’s home looked like they could have stored oil or motor parts — except they held more than 2,000 fetal remains.

“In the 31 years I’ve been doing this job, I’ve never seen anything like this, ever,” Will County Sheriff Mike Kelley said at a press conference in Joliet, Illinois.

Last week, the sheriff’s department uncovered 70 cardboard boxes containing hermetically sealed plastic bags of preserving solution and fetal remains in the garage on the rural property of deceased abortionist Dr. Ulrich Klopfer.

Sheriff Kelley called the crime scene “strange,” adding that investigators are still trying to determine a motive.

“[It’s] hard for us to speculate because it was from 17 to 19 years ago, without being able to talk to him, because he’s deceased,” the sheriff said. “It’s hard to speculate what his motivate was to bring them there.”

Also on Thursday, authorities in St. Joseph County, Indiana, said they did not turn up any fetal remains in a search of Klopfer’s former clinic and a vacant lot in South Bend.

Will County authorities said Thursday that more than 50 detectives and sheriff’s department personnel counted and inventoried more than 2,200 preserved fetal remains in Klopfer’s garage.

Relatives of the deceased abortionist phoned the county coroner on Sept. 12 after finding the boxes in a garage on the property where he had lived with his wife in Crete Township, Illinois. The discovery was made public a day later.

“We collectively ask that the media not pass judgment on the Klopfer family,” Sheriff Kelley said Thursday, adding that they have been cooperating with investigators.

Will County officials said there is no evidence Klopfer performed abortions on the property. They will hand off further police work to law enforcement in Indiana, where Klopfer operated three abortion clinics between 2000 and 2002, the time period the remains have been forensically dated to.

“This is still an open investigation,” Sheriff Kelley said. “We’ve concluded what we can do here in Illinois.”

Asked if the state should press charges, Will County Prosecutor James W. Glasgow responded curtly: “If Mr. Klopfer did something wrong, it’s irrelevant because he can’t be prosecuted.”

Klopfer died Sept. 3 of natural causes, according to Will County Coroner Patrick K. O’Neil.

Indiana outlaws transferring fetal remains across state lines and the non-burial of fetal tissue. Officials did not say when they believed Klopfer transferred the fetal remains to his garage.

Illinois law does not mandate burial for fetal remains or medical waste.

Asked how investigators determined 2000 to 2002 as the period during which the fetal remains were aborted, Will County officials called that information “privileged.”

According to the family’s attorney, Kevin Bolger, Klopfer’s widow and sister did not know the contents of the boxes.

Klopfer ran abortion clinics in Indiana in Fort Wayne, Gary and South Bend before his medical license was suspended in 2016. State investigators found that he had failed to do things like ensure that qualified staff was present when patients received or recovered from medications given before and during abortion procedures.

The case already has drawn comparisons to Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermet Gosnell, who is imprisoned for life for snipping spinal cords of three aborted babies who had lived for a few moments outside the womb.

Investigators found that Gosnell stored dismembered remains in milk jugs and glass jars at his clinic.

In the 1980s in California, more than 16,000 fetuses were discovered in a cargo container that was repossessed from a medical laboratory operator’s home.

On Wednesday, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic presidential candidate, talked to reporters about the remains, saying he hoped the discovery would “get caught up in politics at a time when women need access to health care.”

“Like everyone, I find the news out of Illinois, extremely disturbing,” Mr. Buttigieg said. “There’s no question that what happened here is disturbing, it’s unacceptable, and it needs to be looked at.”

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