Mummified Baby Corpse Missing From New Hampshire Grave Site

CONCORD, N.H. -- The mummified body of a baby, kept by a family for nearly a century before a judge ordered the remains to be buried, has been removed from a cemetery, Concord police said Tuesday.

A cemetery visitor on Monday reported that a grave appeared to have been unearthed, police Sgt. John Thomas said. The corpse of "Baby John" has not been recovered, he said.

The mummified body had been kept for years by Charles Peavey. He had said the family had kept the mummy, possibly the stillborn son of a great-great-uncle, for 80 to 90 years and considered it a family heirloom.

Police learned of it in 2006. A judge ordered that it be buried and the remains were interred in an unmarked grave at Concord's Blossom Hill Cemetery in 2008.

Peavey's home was searched on Monday, said his attorney, Jim Rosenberg. He said Peavey denies disturbing the gravesite.

Peavey has not been charged with any crime.

"His sole wish, when Baby John was put to rest a couple years back now, was that the baby could rest peacefully," Rosenberg said. "This news has been extremely difficult for Mr. Peavey to deal with."

Disturbance of a burial site and abuse of a corpse are felonies.

Relatives had treated the mummified infant as a family member, giving it cards during holidays and a dried fish as a pet.

Testing by the state concluded the baby died of natural causes shortly after its birth and confirmed the remains were decades old, but did not determine the mummy's age or origin. DNA testing failed to prove the boy was related to Peavey.