LONDON, Ont. – In a case police described Monday as having “lots of peculiar twists and turns,” a 32-year-old woman is alleged to have kept the decomposing remains of three infants, who may not have been carried to term, hidden in a tote box for up to eight years.
Police still don’t know how the babies died and while it was hoped autopsies would have already provided some answers, London police Chief Murray Faulkner said it may be months before specifics like times of death, causes of death, genders and parentage of the children can be determined.
“Currently the cause of death has not been established, and I will say that’s primarily due to the significant decomposition of the bodies,” Faulkner said.
What has been determined is that the babies may not have been carried to full term, he said.
“If they weren’t full-term they were near -to-full-term.”
Police say they have enough information aside from DNA to suspect that Jennifer Sinn, 32, was the mother of all three children, and have charged her with three counts of causing an indignity to a body and three counts of disposing of a child’s body.
Faulkner said police have spoken to people who remember Sinn being pregnant and court documents suggest police believe the babies died around 2001, 2002 and 2006.
When the bodies were first discovered, investigators thought they were dealing with the remains of one infant, due to the advanced decomposition.
But forensic testing has determined three babies’ remains were in the box.
Nothing “of concern” arose in the autopsy related to trauma to the bodies of the infants, but the investigation is ongoing, Faulkner said.
“People have been asking us, ‘Is this a homicide?”‘ he said.
“Well, our investigation is still going on today, regarding not only the findings of the bodies but the full circumstances in relation to when the infants died.”
In addition to the three infants who are allegedly Sinn’s, she had three other children with her now ex-boyfriend, said Faulkner, adding they are being looked after by family members.
It was the ex-boyfriend who made the grim discovery.
“This case has lots of peculiar twists and turns,” Faulkner said.
“The fact of how it came to our attention, the fact that originally we said there was one (body and it) turns to be three, and then the length of time we believe these infants were in a tote box.”
Sinn lived in Brampton, Ont., for most of her life and moved to London in March 2008, Faulkner said. It’s alleged she brought the box and its gruesome contents with her in the move.
Neighbours have said Sinn lived at the address where the bodies were found for about six months and had moved out about two weeks before her arrest.
Faulkner said Sinn had been living at a shelter for abused women when she was taken into custody, but cautioned against reading too much into that fact.
“My understanding is that she did reside there temporarily, but there are reasons why people go to the shelter other than abuse,” he said.
Sinn is not co-operating with police and is exercising her right to remain silent, Faulkner said.
When asked if police believe someone else had knowledge of or assisted in the alleged crimes, Faulkner replied that the criminal investigation is continuing.
“And you can read into that what you want,” he said.
Faulkner said the whole case has not been easy for investigators.
“Regardless of what people think of police, we are human,” he said.
“Many of our officers have young children and I will say that in an investigation like this it at times can be very, very emotional.”
Sinn appeared in court last Tuesday and is in custody until her next court appearance on Friday.