A 36-year-old woman was taken into police custody in the French Alps after police discovered the bodies of three of her newborn babies hidden at her home, police said Thursday.

Police said they were tipped off by the woman's former romantic partner, who said he discovered the bodies hidden in boxes at the house. In a search Wednesday, officers found the bodies of three newborns, born between 2001 and 2006, and the woman acknowledged that she had given birth to them, police said.

French media reports said officials were trying to determine how the babies died. The woman, whose identity was not immediately released, was in police custody in Albertville.

The woman apparently gained so little weight during her pregnancies that nobody realized she was expecting, the reports said.

A neighbor of the couple, Eraldo Anselmo, said he was present when the woman's former partner discovered them. They called police.

"I never saw her pregnant," the neighbor told France Bleu radio.

Eric Segura, a local representative for the SNOP police union, said officials planned to carry out a DNA test on the bodies to check who the parents were.

"For the moment, the reasons are not explained," he told France-3 radio. "She said she could not face up to being a mother ... to her children."

The announcement had echoes of another case that shocked France. Last year, two of Frenchwoman Veronique Courjault's newborns were found dead in a freezer at the family residence in Seoul, South Korea, where she and her husband had been living since 2002.

Police said Courjault also told investigators that she killed another child she bore in 1999 in France and burned the body in the fireplace of the home.