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Little Bodies': Four Barrels Holding 248 Fetuses Found in Russian Woods (Graphic)

**Content warning: Graphic images**

(Photo: RTA/Yekaterinburg via Ria Novosti)

Editor's note: This post contains content that may be disturbing to some. Discretion is advised.

Villagers in Russia's south Urals have stumbled upon a gruesome discovery — four barrels containing 248 human fetuses left in a forest.

"A friend called at night and said he went fishing and wanted to get some wood for his fire," local resident Sergei Tveritinov said to a state television channel, according to Reuters. "He ran into some water canisters and wanted to take them home, but when he came closer he saw little baby bodies."

Police in the Sverdlovsk region said Tuesday the fetuses, preserved in formaldehyde, were kept in barrels with tags containing surnames and numbers.

Police suspects that one of the four local hospitals is responsible for dumping the barrels.

The fetuses were found a few miles away from a highway linking the region's capital, Yekaterinburg, with another big city, Nizhny Tagil near the Ural Mountains.

Reuters reports deputy head of the regional government, Vladimir Vlasov, saying on state television that a company responsible for the "bio-medical waste did not carry out its duties" of disposing of it properly.

Ria Novosti has more:

“I hope that the Investigation Committee will establish where this happened: in what residential area, in which hospital and who organized these criminal activities,” Batalina, who is the First Deputy Chair of Duma’s Women, Family and Children Committee, told Izvestia.

“And then, Duma deputies and the Health Ministry should draw the necessary conclusions and hold an investigation of their own, and establish why this became possible and what should be done to prevent the killings of unborn children at a legal level,” Batalina said.

The Daily Mail reports the way the fetuses were found is not in line with standard disposal practice of the "hazardous waste" in Russia either. It also notes it is not common practice to label embryos to be disposed of. One theory is that they were part of medical research, such stem cell research.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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