Illinois authorities yesterday said that more than 2200 preserved foetal remains found stacked in the garage of a deceased doctor's home were from abortions performed in Indiana nearly two decades ago and it's up to authorities there to determine if crimes were committed.

At a news conference in Joliet, Illinois, near where the remains were found sealed in individual bags inside more than 70 boxes, Will County officials said that the foetal material was from abortions performed in 2000, 2001 and 2002 in Indiana. The material will be sent back to Indiana, where authorities are investigating.

State's Attorney James Glasgow said that there are no immediate indications that Dr. Ulrich Klopfer, who died September 3, conducted any abortions in Illinois or committed any crimes in the state.

Ulrich Klopfer, pictured in September 2014. Officials are investigating the discovery of more than 2200 medically preserved foetal remains at his Illinois house. Photo / AP
Ulrich Klopfer, pictured in September 2014. Officials are investigating the discovery of more than 2200 medically preserved foetal remains at his Illinois house. Photo / AP

Glasgow did leave open the possibility that Illinois authorities could investigate a statement Klopfer once made that he performed an abortion of a 10-year-old Illinois girl who had been raped by her uncle, even though investigations found no records of such a crime.

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He said that the laws Klopfer might have violated in Indiana were on disposal of foetal remains and failing to file the proper paperwork related to the procedures.

"If they (Indiana authorities) get any information about the 10-year-old girl and it's within the statute of limitations then we would make ourselves available," he said. But, he said, "We need to make no further criminal inquiry here."

St. Joseph County prosecutor Ken Cotter says no remains were found at the former abortion clinic where Ulrich Klopfer used to operate. Photo / AP
St. Joseph County prosecutor Ken Cotter says no remains were found at the former abortion clinic where Ulrich Klopfer used to operate. Photo / AP

Glasgow Sheriff Mike Kelley and Coroner Patrick O'Neil would not say how the foetal remains were marked or whether there was information on each bag with the names of the women who had abortions. Glasgow said it is obvious from the condition of the foetal remains that the abortions were done many years ago.

The officials said they were unable to even guess what might have prompted Klopfer to bring the remains to his house or why the doctor, who performed abortions at Indiana clinics for decades, only had remains from those years.

"It's tough for us to even speculate what his motivation was to bring them there," said Kelley.

Glasgow said that it would be up to women who had abortions at the time if they want to have information made public going forward.

Officers from the Fort Wayne Police Department search the former site of an abortion clinic owned by Dr Ulrich Klopfer after 2200 foetal remains were found at his Illinois home. Photo / AP
Officers from the Fort Wayne Police Department search the former site of an abortion clinic owned by Dr Ulrich Klopfer after 2200 foetal remains were found at his Illinois home. Photo / AP

The news conference was held on the same day that Indiana authorities searched two shuttered abortion clinics that were once operated by Klopfer. St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter said that police, prosecutors and officials from the Indiana attorney general's office served a search warrant at Klopfer's former clinic in South Bend.

He said that boxes of medical records were found inside.

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"At this point I can tell you that there are no foetal remains here." Cotter said during a news conference outside the building.

Cotter said that authorities also searched a vacant lot in South Bend that's possibly connected to the shuttered clinic to determine whether or not foetal remains were buried there. Cadaver dogs searched that lot and no remains were found, he said, adding that the investigation of both properties is ongoing.

Officers from the Fort Wayne Police Department block the entrance to the site of a former abortion clinic operated by Dr Ulrich Klopfer. Photo / AP
Officers from the Fort Wayne Police Department block the entrance to the site of a former abortion clinic operated by Dr Ulrich Klopfer. Photo / AP

Cotter said the Indiana attorney general's office is reviewing whether medical records at the shuttered South Bend clinic had been properly handled of and reviewed.

"There are a number of boxes of medical records so the AG's office will continue with that investigation," he said.

Klopfer, whose medical license was suspended in 2016 by Indiana officials, had performed abortions at clinics in Fort Wayne, South Bend and Gary, all cities in northern Indiana not far from Chicago.

A spokeswoman for Fort Wayne, Indiana, police told the Journal Gazette that city police assisted the Indiana attorney general's office in obtaining a warrant for Thursday's search of the former clinic where Klopfer once performed abortions.

WANE-TV showed footage of Fort Wayne officers near the doorway and in parking lot outside that building beyond a line of police caution tape.

Ulrich Klopfer, in an image made from a December 1, 2015, video provided by WNDU-TV, died on September 3 at the age of 75. Photo / via AP
Ulrich Klopfer, in an image made from a December 1, 2015, video provided by WNDU-TV, died on September 3 at the age of 75. Photo / via AP

Police spokeswoman Sofia Rosales-Scatena said she doesn't know what officers found there on Thursday or what they were looking for.

No search warrants have been issued in Lake County, Indiana, for Klopfer's former abortion clinic in Gary or other properties in the northwestern Indiana potentially linked to Klopfer, said Bradley Carter, spokesman for the Lake County prosecutor's office.

The remains were found in Illinois by Klopfer's widow and her sister as they conducted the kind of search that people routinely do when loved ones die. An attorney for the widow has said that the women were shocked by the discovery.

On Thursday, sheriff Kelley described the discovery as the strangest case he'd seen in 31 years in law enforcement.

- AP