Two infant skeletons found in dead Ohio woman's home

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 11, 2013 3:12 PM

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Two "infant-size" skeletons found in a foot locker inside the mobile home of an Ohio woman who died in November will require the examination of anthropologists, police said on Wednesday.

The human remains, found on Monday by the woman's son and his cousin, will be turned over to anthropologists in an effort to determine age, gender, and through DNA testing, possibly their identities, North Canton Police Chief Stephan Wilder said. North Canton is about 5 miles north of Canton.

"Looking at the bones, they had been in there a long time," Wilder said. "Whether it was five years or 50 we don't know. It could take several weeks or months before we know."

Judith Shumar, 66, died of natural causes, Wilder said. Her son, who is 41 and lives in California, told police he had limited contact with her since he left home at the age of 18, he said.

Shumar had lived in the mobile home for five years, Wilder said. Her son and cousin were removing personal items from the home when they opened the locked footlocker and found what looked like a small skull and femur wrapped in a disintegrated blanket and plastic bag, Wilder said.

Wilder said her son told police he believed he had helped her move the footlocker into the home five years ago. He said he had kept in touch with her by phone and was "shocked, alarmed and concerned" after finding the remains, Wilder said.

The Stark County coroner's office determined that the footlocker contained two sets of "infant-size" skeletal remains, Wilder said. The coroner's office called for anthropologists because it is not equipped to examine remains that have very little tissue, he said.

The footlocker and the remains are scheduled to be examined by experts at the Department of Anthropology at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, he said.

(This version of the story corrects spelling of surname to Shumar from Schuman in paragraphs four and five)

(Editing By Brendan O'Brien)