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Oulu child deaths: Woman reveals fathers’ names to police

More details of how the bodies of five newborn babies came to be hidden under an apartment block in Oulu have been emerging after police questioned a woman on suspicion of manslaughter. Police say the woman feigned miscarriages. They also say they are investigating the incident under the offence of breaching the sanctity of the grave, a crime which carries a fine or maximum prison sentence of one year.

Tributes left at the site where the bodies of five newborn babies were discovered in Oulu last week. Image: Yle

Police questioning a woman over a suspected manslaughter, after the bodies of five apparently newborn babies were discovered hidden in a cellar in Oulu, say they now have some information as to the identities of the babies’ fathers.

During questioning, the woman told police that she had tried to hide her pregnancies from other people. When somebody did notice, the woman told them she had suffered a miscarriage, or denied that she was pregnant, giving other reasons for her weight gain. This was enough to stop people asking further questions, police said.

The woman’s current husband is now believed to have known about her pregnancy which came to an end in 2010. The woman told her husband she had suffered a miscarriage at a time when he was away from home. She claimed to have been to hospital, and neither the husband nor anyone else suspected that this was not the case, police said.

Fathers' identities known

Speaking after questioning the woman on Monday, police said the woman had given them more details about the circumstances that led to the deaths of the five newborns and the subsequent storing of their bodies, first in a freezer and then in the cellar of an apartment block in Oulu. The woman has also given police some of the names of the alleged fathers of the children.

Police have not yet contacted these men. DNA tests will be conducted to determine the paternity of the children.

Authorities have also examined the woman’s former home using sniffer dogs.

Police say they are also looking into whether to charge the woman with the offence of breaching the sanctity of the grave. The crime, which carries a maximum sentence of one year, applies to cases when an individual handles an unburied corpse in an offensive manner.

Sister "no involvement whatsoever"

Responding to conjecture that the woman’s sister was involved in the events, police say there is no evidence that the sister, who works in the healthcare sector, had any involvement whatsoever in the incidents, nor that she assisted in the woman’s births.

Police called for an end to speculation, in order to prevent further upset and difficulties to the woman’s sister and other close relations.

Law enforcement officials say they have so far been contacted by over 30 members of the public offering leads and contacts in the investigation.

They ask for any person who knew of the woman’s pregnancies or other matter pertinent to the case to telephone them on 041 472 9451 between 8am and 4pm.

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