A child-size casket with a bag of organs inside, but no body, was found on a North Philadelphia sidewalk Monday night.
The discovery was made about 9 p.m. on the 3100 block of West Clearfield Street, across from Mount Peace Cemetery.
Police Chief Inspector Scott Small told CBS3: "According to the medical examiner, [they] were in fact human organs. They believed they belonged to an infant or a child. What's unusual is inside the coffin, other than the bag of organs, there was no body."
Small said police are investigating. "There have been cases where people take remains or human bodies for whatever unusual reasons they decide, but we're going to look into that," he said.
Also nearby are Mount Vernon Cemetery and Laurel Hill Cemetery.
Chris James, 25, of North Philadelphia, said in a phone interview Tuesday that he was at a gas station nearby when other people discovered the casket and called 911. He went to look. It was a "small casket wrapped in a trash bag," he said.
When officers arrived, James said, they opened the small, white casket. "At first, they thought it was a false alarm," he said. Then, inside, there was a black plastic bag, which had dirt in it and "something organic," he said.
"It did look like organs," said James.
Police on Wednesday said that an investigator with the Medical Examiner's Office who went to the scene Monday night confirmed that the contents of the casket were indeed embalmed internal organs and that no skeletal remains were found. The casket was taken to the Medical Examiner's Office for further investigation, said police, who released no further information Wednesday.
A spokesman for the Medical Examiner's Office referred questions on the case Wednesday to the police department.
A woman who answered the phone at Mount Peace Cemetery on Wednesday said no one would have any comment. A corporate official with Mount Vernon Cemetery said Wednesday: "We are no way involved in this matter." A woman who answered the phone at Laurel Hill Cemetery said they had checked their grounds and found nothing suspicious.
Editor's Note: This story was revised to clarify that the area of Clearfield Street where the casket was found is across from Mount Peace Cemetery, not Mount Vernon Cemetery as originally reported by police.