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A prominent Indiana abortion doctor's death earlier this month led to a morbid discovery: He'd allegedly hoarded more than 2,000 sets of medically preserved fetal remains on his property in neighboring Illinois.
Last week, the Will County Coroner’s Office received a phone call from Dr. Ulrich Klopfer’s attorney, who informed the office that the 79-year-old specialist’s family had uncovered a stockpile of fetal remains. When authorities arrived, they discovered 2,246 medically preserved remains, according to a Will County Sheriff’s Office press release.
Officials didn’t discuss specifics of how or where Klopfer stored the remains, or what condition they were in, beyond noting that they were medically preserved. It’s unclear why Klopfer kept them.
“There is no evidence that any medical procedures were conducted at the property,” the sheriff’s press release stated.
Authorities in Will County, which is about 45 miles southwest of Chicago, said the doctor’s family is cooperating with law enforcement.
Klopfer, who reportedly performed thousands of abortions in multiple counties, had previously been accused of ethical violations and professional incompetence. His practice was once investigated by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office for having unqualified staff assist with pre-procedure counseling, according to the South Bend Tribune. And in 2014, he had also been accused of neglecting to document a 13-year-old’s pregnancy, which he had terminated, but that charge was later dropped.
“If I had an agenda and I went to inspect a hospital and spent two or three days there, do you think I couldn’t find errors or mistakes?” Klopfer reportedly told the Tribune in 2015.
“I’ve never lost a patient,” he added. “No patient of mine in all the years I’ve been doing abortions has ever had a major complication.”
The investigation has stunned groups on both sides of the abortion debate in South Bend.
Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, a South Bend abortion clinic, said she, too, was “shocked” by the news.
Jackie Walorski, a U.S. Representative serving Indiana’s second congressional district, said in a prepared statement that she was sickened “beyond words” after learning of the discovery at Klopfer’s property.
The latest news about Klopfer has triggered painful memories for one woman who received an abortion from the specialist.
“When I heard the news I went into shock, I was completely numb,” Serena Dyksen, a former patient of Klopfer's told Oxygen.com. “I began sobbing. There was this grief that I felt. And then I was super angry."
The 43-year-old South Bend woman said that Klopfer terminated her pregnancy in the 80s. Dyksen, who said she had been raped by her uncle when she was 13, had no idea what an abortion was at the time. She recalled seeing a “smiling” Klopfer stroll into the operating room and tell her, “This won’t take very long."
More than 30 years later, that memory still haunts her — something that's further been exacerbated by the recent discovery at Klopfer’s property.
Dyksen said she hopes investigators attempt to identify all the remains at Klopfer's property. If that happens, she's ready to confront the morbid possibility that her unborn child could be among the fetal remains recovered there.
“Why would he want to have a trophy of my baby at his property?” she asked.
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