On the night of July 3, 2017, Philly native Chris James and another group of people had been walking along the 3000 block of West Clearfield Street near the Mount Vernon Cemetery when they came across an unusual discovery lying on the sidewalk. Inside a black trash bag had been what appeared to be a white infant-sized casket.
After the discovery, James ran to a nearby gas station to report the strange find and began documenting it on his Facebook profile. According to everyone in the group who had come across the casket, they didn’t want to check to see what had been inside of it and instead waited for police to tell them what they had found.
“I was pretty shocked,” James later told a Philadelphia CBS affiliate. “It looked like something straight out of ‘Thriller.’”
When officers arrived, they observed that the coffin had once been screwed shut, indicating it may have come from the nearby cemetery or even a funeral home. Inside, officers uncovered “something organic.” Police checked the two cemeteries in the area but have said that none of the graves appeared to have been recently disturbed.
A medical examiner has since confirmed that the contents of the coffin were recently embalmed organs belonging to a child or infant. Chief Inspector Scott Small told the CBS, “What’s unusual is other than the bag of organs there was no body.”
Police are now tasked with calling various area funeral homes in order to determine the origins of the organs. As for what the motive for taking the organs may have been, Small says, “There have been cases where people take remains or human bodies for whatever unusual reason they decide, but we’re going to look into that.”
The medical examiner is currently in possession of the organs and the casket as police continue with the investigation.