“I want to formally express my condolences to the family for their loss,” said Mayor Rodney “Buck” Christian. “A member of our fire department has been placed on administrative leave with pay. At this point, I cannot comment any further until the investigation and all the facts are complete.”
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 that 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 did not have 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.
“We are getting the final report and we’re going to conclude our investigation and present what we have to the grand jury,” Surles said. “We will see what happens from there.”
Attorneys Lance Bell and Matt Abbott, who represent the mother, said in a prepared statement Tuesday that the woman’s family is appreciative for the quick response and investigation being conducted by the Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office.
“This was a frantic emergency situation where a young pregnant mother of about 20 week old twins, in excruciating pain, suffered a miscarriage during the early morning hours of Friday, July 23,” the statement from the attorneys said. The attorneys said emergency responders disposed of the fetuses while the mother was being prepared for her trip to the hospital. They said they would pursue "a thorough investigation" and would "demand accountability for those who are responsible.”
Contact Gary Hanner at firstname.lastname@example.org