By Tracy Rucinski

GARY, Ind. (Reuters) - Gary, Indiana, authorities on Thursday were investigating the origin of two fetuses that were briefly hidden in the rafters of a funeral home morgue.

One of the fetuses bore a tag from Methodist Hospital that identified it as male, the funeral home said. The gender of the other fetus, which was in the 24th to 26th week of gestation, is unknown, Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey said.

The fetuses had been stored in the home's morgue since the late 1990s and were placed in the ceiling of the morgue in September by an employee who was later dismissed, said Sean Howard, a spokesman for the Smith, Bizzell & Warner Funeral Home in Gary, in northwest Indiana.

The funeral home, which has been around for 90 years, was purchased by its current owner in 2005.

Coronor's office investigator Scott Sefton said a pathologist would examine the fetuses on Thursday.

"The bottom line is we are working together with the funeral home to give dignity and respect to these individuals so they can get a proper burial. This office is going to start the process of trying to find out where or who are the parents," Sefton said.

(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago)