Owner of former funeral home shocked to learn of fetal remains found inside

OWOSSO, Mich. (WJRT/CNN) -- The former owner of an Owosso funeral home was shocked to learn about remains of two fetuses found where he once lived.

Rick Mowen, who took over the now-closed Mowen Funeral Home in 1997, said he will do his best to return the remains to their families.

An asbestos abatement crew discovered the two fetuses in the closet of an upstairs apartment above the funeral home at 409 Main St. on Monday. They were preparing the building for demolition.

The remains, which police believe were around 20 weeks gestation, were in a box.

Mowen is familiar with the spot because he used to live in the apartment with his wife decades ago.

"In 1979-1980 it was a bedroom and a bath and a closet," he said. "I know where they came from and they were not there."

The business changes hands over the years, with Mowen taking over management in 1997. He knew about the smaller caskets but he didn't know any of them contained human remains.

"The closet was full of assorted miniature caskets and they were ones that had been purchased throughout the years," Mowen said. "Some were damaged and some were soiled."

He never went through all of them.

"Apparently this one was sealed and nailed shut at the very back of the closet," Mowen said.

The fetuses might have been inside the box for decades. A number on the outside appears to be a phone number that predates area codes, which started in 1955.

The Shiawassee County Medical Examiner's Office and Sparrow Hospital medical examiner are working together to identify the remains.

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