Sheriff deputies have questioned a 32-year-old woman in connection with the decomposing remains of two infants discovered last month inside a unit at Sierra Self Storage in Colfax, Calif. The remains were discovered by Regina Zimmer, who is not a suspect, after she purchased the contents of the units during a lien sale. Autopsies of the corpses are being conducted to determine if the babies were alive at birth or stillborn.
Authorities believe the woman questioned in the case is the mother. The remains had been in the unit for at least six months, officials said. “We’re trying to determine the age of the fetus, if it was a viable fetus or if it was a miscarriage,” said Lt. John Poretti, a spokesperson for the Placer County Sheriff’s Department.
If the babies were alive at birth, the person responsible could face double murder charges. If they were stillborn, misdemeanor charges of improperly disposing of human remains would likely be brought, Poretti said.
Zimmer said the remains were found inside an ottoman that had been sealed with tape. Multiple trash bags were inside the container along with food and a stuffed animal. Zimmer called authorities to report the foul odor. “As soon as we removed all the tape and got the lid off, it smelled really, really bad,” she told local news station KCRA. “It was a little skull. It looked like it was in three pieces, some hair. And you could see a jawbone.”
Sheriff deputies found the remains of one body in a trash bag while investigating at the scene. The second set of remains was discovered after the ottoman was taken to the Placer County morgue for processing and autopsy, according to the source.
Gordon Goodrich, general manager at Sierra Self Storage, told a local newspaper he was asked by investigators not to comment on the case.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information connected to the case is encouraged to call Placer County Crime Stoppers at 800.923.8191.