Investigation into flushing premature dead babies down toilet under way
Jul 26, 2010 | 7945 views |  2 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ODENVILLE — Investigators recovered two dead premature infants who were flushed down a toilet into a septic tank Friday.

“This is the worst thing I have seen in all my years,” St. Clair County Sheriff Terry Surles said.

Surles said family members contacted him Friday about the situation.

“It is our duty to follow through with any credible allegation that may have been done, and we want to be sure everything was done accordingly and done right,” Surles said.

He said after hearing an allegation two premature infants were disposed of in a toilet, the Sheriff’s Department started its investigation “by going into the septic tank to recover the bodies.”

Coroner Dennis Russell said Surles notified him about the incident and requested his assistance. He said the initial call from the residence came into Central Dispatch at 6:49 a.m.

“When I arrived on the scene, the lid on the septic tank had been removed,” Russell said. “A pump was inserted to remove some of the water from the tank. Once the water was removed, Investigator Tommy Dixon and I went through the debris and recovered the babies at 5:07 p.m. The babies were cleaned at the scene, placed in a container and taken to the coroner’s office in Pell City Friday. They were transported to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Huntsville Monday.”

Russell said Monday the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences said “the babies were not live births” and “would not have lived had they been born in a hospital.”

Russell said family members had anything to do with the disposal of the babies.

“The mother had left the room and had absolutely nothing to do with the babies being flushed down the commode, nor did any other family member have anything to do with flushing those babies down the commode,” Russell said.

The Sheriff’s Department continues its investigation into the incident.

“The incident will be presented before the grand jury, and we will see what happens,”

Surles said.

The family released this statement through their attorneys, Lance Bell and Matt Abbott. “Our family is hurting right now, and we need time to heal. We appreciate everyone’s respect of our privacy as we endure this difficult time.”

Contact Gary Hanner at