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Archive for Saturday, September 23, 2006

Woman found dead, fetus cut from womb

September 23, 2006

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— Investigators searched the woods Friday for three children a day after their mother's body was found in a vacant lot with a fetus cut from her womb - perhaps with scissors.

A 26-year-old woman who police say was with the children when they were last seen Monday was taken into custody. Police said she held a funeral earlier this week for what she claimed was her stillborn child. Investigators are analyzing those remains to see if they are the stolen fetus.

Authorities provided few details of the investigation and stopped short of calling the woman a suspect in the slaying of 23-year-old Jimella Tunstall, saying only that she was a person of interest.

"Our main concern at this point is trying to find the children alive," State Police Capt. Craig Koehler said.

Dozens of searchers scoured Holten State Park in East St. Louis for Tunstall's children, ages 1, 2 and 7.

East St. Louis Police Chief James Mister said the boyfriend of the woman in custody reported that she told him during the funeral that she killed a pregnant woman to get the fetus.

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