Mich. police say they won't seek charges against woman who tried to sell mummy on eBay

Saturday, November 4th 2006, 4:41 pm
By: News On 6

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) Mummified human skeletal remains confiscated from the home of a woman who police say was trying to sell them on eBay likely came from an early 19th century Scottish collection, authorities said.

Police said Friday they have closed their investigation and do not plan to seek criminal charges.

The remains were confiscated October 10th after being spotted on the Internet auction Web site.

A Michigan State University anthropologist determined that remains likely date from the early 19th century and were part of a collection of anatomical specimens from Scottish anatomist Allen Burns, the Times Herald reported.

The collection was brought to the United States in 1820 and has been housed at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The remains are from a child, probably between the ages of 6 and 9, Norman Sauer, an anthropology professor, told police in an e-mail.

“The medical mummy is clearly an important historical specimen and should be returned to the Burns Collection,” Sauer wrote, noting that many specimens have disappeared from the collection over the years.

Lynn Sterling told police she obtained the remains from a friend who works in demolition and who said he found them in a Detroit school he helped demolish about 30 years ago.

The listing was removed from eBay on October 11th because it violated a policy against selling human remains, eBay has said. The Web site allows the sale of skeletons for medical use, but not mummified remains.