Shocking, but Really Not Uncommon

The discovery human fetuses in jars of formaldehyde may sound disturbing, but believe it or not, years ago, it really wasn't all that uncommon.

The Holmes Clinic in Benton, Kentucky has been a doctor's office since the 1950's. It was a time when a medical practices were a bit different than they are today. Dr. Carl Train is a professor at Southeast Missouri State University. He remembers those times well and said human embryos, capped in jars filled with formaldehyde, was nothing uncommon. "They may have used them essentially to help educate their patients," said Train.

That's how Train learned. He said a professor at Southeast University once used human embryos capped in jars as a teaching tool. "He had several of them that he used just as illustrations to students. No one thought anything about it wasn't like it was like, oh how awful, it was just information," said Train.

Information and tools similar to what students use in a medical laboratory. In a embryology lab today, there are no tiny jars with human embryos inside. In fact, they don't even use human embryos at Southeast anymore. Instead, they use slides of different specimen, like chickens, that they can view through a microscope. "It just became, I guess essentially, for one in a better phrases, politically incorrect to have them," said Train.

But what strikes the sheriff's department as strange is the how they found the embryos inside the clinic. "There was some in a baby food jar, small enough to fit in a baby food jar. There were a couple in plastic containers similar to a Tupperware dish," said Marshall County Sheriff Terry Anderson.

No charges have been filed and no charges may be filed if they determine it was just an old way of teaching science and medicine.

The fetuses are at the medical examiner's office in Madisonville. Results are due back Friday.