FRANKFURT AN DER ODER, Germany – Family members of a German mother accused of killing nine of her newborn babies testified Tuesday their suspicions she was pregnant were met with denials.
Sabine Hilschinz, who was arrested after the remains were found last July buried in flower pots and a fish tank in her parents' back yard, has been standing trial in state court here since last week.
A sister, identified only as Jutta J., told the court she suspected Hilschinz was pregnant about 10 or 15 years ago. But when she confronted her sister about it, she said Hilschinz replied, "No, for God's sake."
Hilschinz, 40, faces eight counts of manslaughter for the deaths, believed to have taken place between 1988 and 1998. She could be jailed for up to 15 years if convicted. She will not be prosecuted in the death of a ninth child because of the statute of limitations.
Frank Koenig, a nephew of Hilschinz, said he recalled the family discussing the possible pregnancies with her, but when she denied them, they accepted her story.
"I already have three children," Koenig, 28, quoted her as saying.
Koenig also described how a friend of the family had initially found some of the children's remains when she came across an aquarium filled with dirt while cleaning out the garage.
Initially she saw plastic bags, he said, but pulling it out they found the remains of the babies.
"And then lots of little bones fell out," he said.
Further digging in several flower pots turned up a baby's skull. A day after the discovery, family members decided to contact the police, he said.
Hilschinz has declined to make a statement to the court. Last August, she told a judge that she could remember properly only two of the births because, in the other cases, she got drunk when she went into labor.
The trial continues Wednesday.