MUNICH: German police said Friday they had found the bodies of eight babies in an apartment in the state of Bavaria, in what could be one of the country’s worst infanticide cases.
A 45-year-old woman believed to be the children’s mother was later arrested, along with a 55-year-old man, local police said in a statement.
Police in the small town of Wallenfels said they were alerted Thursday by a resident who found an infant’s body in the apartment.
When officers arrived at the apartment they uncovered several other bodies, wrapped in hand towels and placed in plastic bags.
Forensic examinations of the corpses, police said, could take time “due to the poor condition” of some bodies, with no result expected before early next week.
German daily Bild reported that a former resident of the apartment had lived there with her husband for 18 years, and that the couple had three children.
But the woman also had four other children from other relationships, it said, adding that she had sought to hide her frequent pregnancies.
It quoted an unnamed source saying that the woman had had four miscarriages.
She moved out in late September after a row with her husband, Bild said, adding that while drunk, the woman had spoken of hiding babies’ bodies at home.
The claim was overheard by a neighbor, who began looking for the bodies and alerted police when she made a macabre find, Bild said.
The suspect reportedly worked at a newspaper kiosk, and in the summer as a swimming-pool lifeguard.
A neighbour described her as a “nice person” who took good care of her children, according to the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. From the street, cheery children’s artwork could be seen taped to the apartment windows.
Wallenfels Mayor Jens Korn expressed shock over the discovery, telling news channel N24 that “this little town where everyone knows each other is asking: ‘Could we have done something?’.”
Germany has seen several infanticide cases in recent years.
In May, a woman was sentenced to 44 months in prison for killing two of her children and hiding them in a freezer.
In October 2013, in Bavaria, construction workers found the bodies of two babies, dead since the 1980s.
And in 2008, a 42-year-old woman was convicted of killing eight of her newborn babies, then hiding their bodies in buckets, flower pots and an old fish tank.