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Woman charged after remains of infants found described as recluse

LONDON, Ont. - A woman described as a recluse was back in custody and facing additional charges Tuesday after police discovered that infant remains found in a southern Ontario home were in fact the badly decomposed bodies of three babies who may have died years ago.

LONDON, Ont. - A woman described as a recluse was back in custody and facing additional charges Tuesday after police discovered that infant remains found in a southern Ontario home were in fact the badly decomposed bodies of three babies who may have died years ago.

The grisly find left police with a slew of unanswered questions ahead of an autopsy to be performed Thursday, including the sex of the children, the causes of death, and their relationship to the woman charged.

What is clear is that the bodies are severely decomposed, so much so that police initially thought they were dealing with the remains of only one child, said London police Det.-Supt. Ken Heslop.

"The bodies have been decomposing, it could be over a number of years," Heslop said.

"We won't know anything until, I'm hoping, Thursday or Friday, depending on how long the examinations take."

Jennifer Sinn, 32, who police said was a former resident of the home, was charged Sunday with one count of concealing the body of a child and one count of offering an indignity to a dead human body after police were called by an occupant of the home.

Neighbours said the woman's partner is the one who discovered the remains and made the call.

She had been released on a promise to appear in court but was taken back into custody Monday and charged with two additional counts of each offence Tuesday after it was discovered three infants were involved.

"They were discovered as part of the post-mortem examination," Heslop said. "Due to the decomposition it was difficult to see that there was more than one there."

Sinn's lawyer, Jeanine LeRoy, said her client made a brief court appearance Tuesday and was to appear again for a video remand June 19.

LeRoy, who has also taken on the high-profile defence of one of the two people charged with murder in the disappearance of Victoria Stafford in Woodstock, Ont., said she could not comment further on Sinn's case.

London police were in contact with other forces across Ontario, as Sinn had previously lived outside of the city and the force had information that the alleged crimes may have not occurred in London.

Investigators were not releasing the names of the other police forces involved, a police spokesman said Tuesday evening.

Karen Elliot, who lives next door to the duplex where police continued to gather evidence, said Sinn moved into the home about six months ago and was a recluse whose parents delivered food to her door.

Elliot said Sinn's partner told her that he found boxes containing the remains in the basement and immediately called police.

"I came home to police officers and a forensic unit," Elliot said of the scene Saturday.

"I looked out my daughter's back window and I saw what looked like a bunch of taped up boxes with garbage bags and one of them was open and it looked like bloody clothing."

Sinn appeared to have moved out of the home about two weeks ago, Elliot added.

A woman who identified herself as Sinn's sister when contacted at her London, Ont.-area home said she hadn't spoken to her sister in 15 years, but would not comment further.

Neighbours said there were three children who, at some point, lived in the home where the babies' remains were found - two older children and an infant about 12 months old.

"She's pretty much a recluse," Elliot said.

"She would open up the door long enough to do whatever and would go right back in and shut both doors."

The neighbourhood was shaken up by the discovery.

"Everybody is just distraught. People aren't sleeping at night and they're taking sleeping pills in order to sleep," said Elliot. "This is a really family-oriented community, everybody has got children."

The autopsy is scheduled for Thursday at the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto.

- By Ciara Byrne in Toronto

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