The Inyo County Sheriff’s Department is seeking information that could tell investigators how a fetus ended up in the Rovana Sewer Ponds last week.
According to Inyo County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Jeff Hollowell, an employee working at the sewer ponds noticed the tiny remains on Friday, May 9 and notified law enforcement.
Deputy Coroner Bill Stinnett said a pathologist has examined the fetus and determined it was between 12 and 18 weeks old.
Hollowell said the Sheriff’s Department is hoping to contact the mother to learn the circumstances that led to its discovery in the sewer pond. Hollowell said that it appears the fetus was flushed down the toilet, and not discarded directly into the pond. Stinnett said the fetus, at the start of the second trimester, was roughly the size of a blackbird.
“At this time we haven’t determined whether or not there’s been a crime,” Hollowell said. “We’d like to talk to the mother to determine the circumstances surrounding this and how we got involved.”
Hollowell said that the fetus may have been stillborn, that it could be a case of accidental death or there could be foul play involved. He said any information on the case could help answer some of the outstanding questions.
Anonymous tips regarding the case and can be made by calling (760) 878-0383.
Confidential medical care for the mother, who might be suffering complications from a miscarriage or be at risk for major infection, is available at Northern Inyo Hospital.
Linda Benson, the assistant director of Inyo County Health and Human Services, said that the local HHS office does not provide emergency medical care, but staff is trained to help residents in need. Benson said that HHS staff is available to answer questions and is willing to accompany residents to a doctor’s appointment or hospital visit if they are not comfortable doing so alone. Benson also said that the hospital and Health and Human Services are required to keep patient information confidential.
To contact the Health and Human Services Department, call (760) 873-7868.