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Authorities: Dutch woman confesses to birthing babies, storing bodies

From Ben Brumfield, CNN
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Dutch woman accused of killing babies
  • The bodies of four newborns were found in suitcases
  • Forensic tests are being conducted on the bodies
  • The woman initially claimed she'd given the children up for adoption

(CNN) -- A Dutch woman confessed to giving birth to four babies, then placing them in suitcases and storing them on the top floor of her parents' home, a Dutch prosecutor said Sunday.

The 25-year-old woman was arrested Wednesday and confessed Thursday, Prosecutor Hank Mous told CNN. Police recovered the four bodies in four suitcases at the woman's parents' house, in Nij Beets, Netherlands, where she also resided, he said.

Authorities are awaiting the results of forensic tests to determine causes of death and over what time span the deaths occurred before filing charges against the woman, Mous said. He would not release her name.

A neighbor notified police, Mous said, because "he thought it was strange she had some suspicious pregnancies." The woman told neighbors she had gotten fat and then lost the weight, Mous said.

Police met with her in July, and she said she had had three pregnancies but had given the children up for adoption, Mous said. After further investigation and following the woman's failure to produce adoption papers for the children, police met with her again, he said. "She could not give a good explanation for the disappearance of the babies."

After her arrest, the woman had an "emotional breakout" and told police where the babies' bodies were, he said. "She held a big secret to herself for years."

Police searched the home and found the four suitcases with human remains inside. Dutch forensics officials confirmed the remains were those of four newborns, Mous said.

The National Forensic Institute is studying the DNA to confirm the suspect as the mother and create timetables for the pregnancies and profiles of possible fathers, Mous said. The suspect is cooperating with police, he said, but "we have to investigate whether what she is telling is the truth."

The suspect has no known history of criminal offenses or mental illness, according to the prosecutor, and no potential father has stepped forward.

Last month, a French woman admitted giving birth to and smothering eight babies over a 17-year period. Dominique Cottrez told investigators she killed the babies because she did not want to have any more children and did not want to see doctors to obtain contraceptives, prosecutor Eric Vaillant told reporters. Cottrez is overweight and was able to conceal the pregnancies from her husband, he said. She is charged with murder.

The case came to light when a couple gardening in their backyard in the northern town of Villers-au-Tertre found two babies' bodies in sealed plastic bags and called police.

Police spoke to Cottrez and her husband, who had previously lived in the home, and Cottrez admitted immediately that she was the mother of the two babies the couple found gardening, Vaillant said. She then told police about six others concealed in their garage, Vaillant said. Those six bodies were also in sealed plastic bags but were covered by various objects, he said.