TORONTO – A mummified infant discovered wrapped in an over 80-year-old newspaper in the ceiling of a Toronto home was likely stillborn and displayed no obvious signs of foul play, authorities said.
The mummified remains — wrapped in a copy of the long defunct Mail and Empire newspaper dated Sept. 15, 1925 — were those of a boy, Dr. Jim Cairns, Ontario's deputy chief coroner said, discussing the results of an autopsy which suggested the child's organs were healthy and there was no evidence of trauma to the infant's bones.
"We could tell that the kid had not been beaten, not been stabbed, anything of that nature," he said.
The boy had no bacteria in his bowels, which Cairns said suggests the child was a newborn who died before he started feeding. There was still a remnant of an umbilical cord attached to the body, another hint of the boy's age.
The body was found by Bob Kinghorn, who said he and a co-worker — while drilling a hole through the wall — noticed a strange smell in a second-floor room of the house. Concealed within the ceiling joists was a bundle Kinghorn described as being wrapped in a floral-print comforter tied together with butcher string.
Cutting it open and unwrapping the newspaper, he found the remains of a baby curled in the fetal position.
Authorities will now try to determine the identity of the child using provincial records from the period, and establish if the child has any know relatives.