Police: remains are of a fetus

Possible human remains found in the town of Portland have been identified as a human fetus. The Erie County Medical Examiner confirmed the remains to be human during an examination early Friday. The remains were reportedly found Thursday afternoon in the town of Portland.

New York State Police Lt. Brian Ratajczak announced at a press conference Friday at the Dunkirk barracks that the remains were found to be of a fetus with a gestational age of 18 to 20 weeks. It is estimated the fetus was outside the mother’s womb for about two to three weeks. The cause of death has been listed as intrauterine fetal demise, a clinical term for a baby that has died in the womb.

“… At this stage, the fetus would not be able to survive outside of the womb,” Ratajczak said.

A family walking along the shore at Lake Erie State Park found the remains and called 911. State Police and Chautauqua County Coroner Larry Wilcox responded to the scene. According to troopers, it is possible the remains washed up on shore but it is still too early in the investigation. Ratajczak also said it is too early to tell if foul play was involved. The investigation is continuing and no other details were released Friday.

“It’s a difficult investigation; however we have our men and women working on it. We’re working with the Park Police, as well as the (Chautauqua County) DA’s office and the ME’s office,” Ratajczak said.

Police are trying to locate the mother of the baby to gather more information about the circumstances surrounding the death. Anyone who has information on the incident is asked contact police at 665-3114.

“There’s always somebody out there that knows something,” State Police Captain Eric Balon said.

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