The bodies of 40 newborn babies and fetuses have been found abandoned in a Brazilian hospital morgue, some forgotten for years, authorities said Monday, comparing it to a horror movie.
Some of the small corpses had been moldering in a morgue refrigerator for as long as five years at the city-administered Pedro Ernesto Hospital in Rio de Janeiro.
Officials also found a number of body parts which prosecutors said were probably left over from emergency amputations.
"It's like something from a horror film," prosecutor Ana Cristina Huth Macedo told AFP.
"Our goal now is to give the bodies a dignified burial as soon as possible."
The hospital is renowned for delivering high-risk births, which explained why so many babies would have died, she said.
The hospital's director, Rodolfo Acatuassu Nunes, told Brazilian television that the bodies of the deceased and stillborn infants had never been claimed by their parents.
"It has to do with a social problem: people don't come back to get the body of their baby if it has died," he said.
Prosecutors have been unable to identify 15 of the bodies, and all the deceased infants will undergo genetic testing to determine who their parents were.
The case came to light after prosecutors were asked by authorities to investigate the whereabouts of one infant who it was later determined was delivered stillborn to a crack-addicted mother.
Officials determined that a year after the baby's death, it still had not been buried, leading them to the discovery of dozens more unburied infant corpses.
"We have to find out if it's the hospital or the families that are at fault," Huth Macedo told AFP.