Body part found in Canton parking lot believed cut from embalmed body

January 20, 2001|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A severed human penis found in Southeast Baltimore on Thursday afternoon came from an embalmed body, officials said yesterday.

The body part was found in the parking lot of a convenience store in the 2300 block of Boston St. in Canton about 4 p.m., police said.

The embalming chemicals found in the penis were consistent with those used in funeral homes, authorities said.

Dr. Stephen Radentz, a state medical examiner, said he could not determine when the penis was removed from the body of an adult white male. But he said it looked like somebody "simply cut it off."

There also did not appear to be "any elements of expertise" in the removal, he said.

Police officials said yesterday that they had no clues. "If funeral homes or another organization that deals with cadavers contacts us and informs us that they have a cadaver missing this particular piece of anatomy, we will investigate at this point," said Agent Martin Bartness, a police spokesman.

Two women spotted the penis in the parking lot of the Canton Market, officials said, and told a store clerk, who called police.

If police find a suspect, they might not be able to charge him or her, experts said.

Harvey Morrell, a researcher at the University of Baltimore law school library, said he could find no criminal law dealing with the mutilation of a body in a funeral home.

"There's no real Maryland law on point," Morrell said, though he added: "I'm sure that if police wanted to, they could figure out something to charge them with."

Morrell said the dead man's family could sue the mutilator.

And if someone stole the body part for profit or took it from a burial site, authorities could charge him or her with a misdemeanor.

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