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A state probe into a deceased Indiana abortion doctor who kept thousands of medically preserved fetal remains at his Illinois home has ended without charges being laid.
Dr. Ulrich Klopfer died of natural causes in September 2019. Authorities initially recovered 2,246 fetal remains from the 79-year-old abortion doctor’s Will County property after his family made the ghastly discovery. An additional 165 fetal remains were later found in the trunk of Klopfer’s Mercedes Benz, along with garbage and rodent droppings.
The majority of remains were found in Klopfer’s garage in Styrofoam coolers and deteriorating boxes containing bags that had leaked a formaldehyde-like substance, according to Indiana’s Attorney General’s Office. All of the remains are believed to have come from an Indiana practice he operated between 2000 and 2003. The remains, some of which were badly decomposed, were unable to be independently identified.
The investigation ultimately found that Klopfer neglected to dispose of the remains as required by state law. He acted alone, investigators said. Since Klopfer is no longer alive, prosecutors declined to recommend any criminal charges.
“This horrific ordeal is exactly why we need strong laws to ensure the dignified disposition of fetal remains,” Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said in a statement. “I was humbled to provide these precious babies a proper burial in South Bend. We hope the results of our investigation provide much-needed closure to everyone who has been impacted by this gruesome case.”
It’s unclear why Klopfer was hoarding the fetal remains. No procedures appear to have been conducted at the property.
The Attorney General’s report also found that Klopfer didn’t direct the disposition of patient records and also failed to notify patients regarding records from his closed medical practice.
The report added that the fetal remains have since been “interred” in a “respectful and dignified manner.”
The case triggered widespread outrage and led to a new state Senate bill that calls for stricter state laws in Indiana surrounding the disposal of fetal remains.
Klopfer performed thousands of abortions in several counties. He’d been licensed since 1979, according to the Indy Star. The abortion doctor had previously been investigated for ethical violations, professional incompetence, and for hiring unqualified staff, the South Bend Tribune reported. In 2014, he allegedly failed to report a teen girl’s pregnancy, whose child he had aborted, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com. Charges were later dropped.
Some of Klopfer’s former patients were horrified when they learned that a cache of fetal remains were found on his property.
“This whole case has ripped open wounds for many women who deeply regret their abortion and just wanted to forget what happened behind those walls,” Serena Dyksen, a former patient of Klopfer's told Oxygen.com.
Dyksen, 43, was raped by her uncle as a teenager and was later taken Klopfer’s clinic by her family for an abortion. Decades later, the news had left her wondering if her own aborted child was being stored at Klopfer’s property.
“Why would he want to have a trophy of my baby at his property?” she asked.
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