Stillborn baby tossed in trash at California funeral home

Police were investigating Monday after a contractor for a California funeral home inadvertently tossed the body of a stillborn baby into the trash, officials said.

Employees at Cherokee Memorial Funeral Home in Lodi contacted authorities on Saturday after discovering the body was missing from storage, police said in a statement.

Investigators reviewed surveillance video from the facility and "discovered that an employee from a contracted transport service discarded an item containing the fetus into a waste container" two weeks earlier, the Lodi police statement said.

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The body could not be retrieved because all waste containers at the funeral home had been taken by a collection company, the statement said. A search of a landfill came up empty, police said.

The investigation will be forwarded to the San Joaquin District Attorney’s Office to determine if any criminal charges will be filed, officials said.

Tori Monforte, general manager of the funeral home, told the Los Angeles Times that mortuary officials could not provide details on the case, including the name of the employee, because of the ongoing investigation.

"We are working closely with the family, law enforcement and others involved to investigate the incident and resolve the issue quickly," she said in an email to the Times.