German police arrested the mother of three infants whose bodies were found stuffed into a basement freezer, a prosecutor's spokesman said Monday.

Police made the grisly find Sunday night in the town of Wenden, near Olpe, in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, after receiving a tip from one of the woman's three grown children, officials said.

The three infants are believed to have been born alive, said Johannes Daheim, spokesman for prosecutors investigating the case. Authorities were awaiting autopsy results to determine for sure how they died, he said.

The 44-year-old woman, who name was not released, was taken into custody on suspicion that she killed the children.

The woman, her 47-year-old husband, and three grown children — two sons, aged 18 and 22, and a 24-year-old daughter — have lived for years in the town.

"I've been mayor for 14 years, and this is definitely the worst day I've seen," said Peter Brueser. "We will need a long time here to work through this."

There have been a number of similar cases in Germany.

In February, police were called to a home in northern Germany where a dead infant was discovered in the cellar.

In January, a 28-year-old German woman was charged with manslaughter after the remains of three babies were discovered in her house and the home of a relative. That woman has denied killing the three babies.

Another woman was convicted of manslaughter in 2006 for killing eight of her newborn babies and burying them in flower pots and a fish tank in the garden of her parents' home near the German-Polish border.