The same day that Illinois authorities were holding a news conference after the discovery of 2,246 individually packaged preserved fetal remains in the garage at a home of a doctor who died earlier this month, Fort Wayne Police Crime Scene Technicians were looking inside his former clinic on Inwood Drive.
During a news conference Sept. 19, Will County (Illinois) Sheriff Mike Kelley said the fetal remains found in the garage were from abortions conducted 2000-02, when Dr. Ulrich “George” Klopfer was performing the procedures in Indiana, where he had clinics in Fort Wayne, South Bend and Gary. The remains were to be sent to Indiana; and Illinois’ portion of the investigation is concluded, although investigators will cooperate with Indiana authorities.
Kelley said his department had 50 detectives and other personnel looking through hundreds of boxes at Klopfer’s property over two days to ensure that fetal remains weren’t stored elsewhere.
State’s Attorney James Glasgow, having cited an incident in which Klopfer did not properly report an abortion he performed on a 10-year-old girl, alluded to the possibility that the remains may be evidence to crimes such as statutory rape if they came from underage girls.
During a news conference Sept. 20, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, who spoke earlier this year at South Bend’s Right to Life rally, referred to Klopfer as “one of the most notorious abortionists in the history of Indiana and had a record of deplorable conditions and violations of regulatory controls that were placed on these clinics.”
Hill’s office reached out to the prosecutors’ offices, including Allen County’s Karen Richards, in the counties where Klopfer had clinics to be part of an investigation, which included the search of the clinics for more fetal remains. None were found, Hill said.
Hill said investigators are looking at the transfer of biohazards across state lines and the discarding of “thousands of” confidential medical records in the case.
With Klopfer being dead, the investigation will focus on whether other licensed medical staff took part in or had knowledge of the transport of the remains, Hill said.
Women who’ve had abortions have been contacting Hill’s office, which will develop a plan to connect with affected individuals.
Those who’ve had abortions during the timeframe at Klopfer’s Indiana clinics can call 317-234-6663 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“In the meantime, I can tell you, that we are going to bring our babies home and make sure they’re treated with the proper dignity and respect deserving of anyone born on Hoosier soil.”
Records were attached to the remains that identified where and when the abortion occurred, Hill said.
In 2016, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law requiring that medical facilities either bury or cremate fetal remains after abortions, according to Hill’s office. This year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law.
“In the 31 years that I’ve been in this job, I’ve never seen anything like this, ever,” Kelley said during the Illinois news conference. “It is a strange, you know, it’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime things.”
Fort Wayne Police were at Klopfer’s former clinic at 2210 Inwood Drive on Sept. 19. Crime Scene Technicians with gloves and masks could be seen walking in and out of the clinic in the afternoon. The Allen County Coroner’s Office said it had not been called to take part in the investigation. Police department spokeswoman Sgt. Sofia Rosales-Scatena said Sept. 20 that investigators were still going through what they found in the local clinic and wasn’t aware of any medical records being discovered.
The same day a search was also made of Klopfer’s former clinic in South Bend.
Klopfer used the Fort Wayne clinic to perform abortions until about five years ago.
When a local doctor resigned as Klopfer’s backup, Klopfer no longer met the state law requirement for abortion doctors to have local admitting privileges or have an agreement with a doctor who had admitting privileges at a hospital in the county or contiguous county. The requirement was set in case of post-operative complications. Allen County also has an ordinance that requires doctors who practice in the county but live out of state to have an agreement with a doctor who practices in the county.
The doctor resigned as Klopfer’s backup after a South Bend newspaper reported that Klopfer had failed to report to Indiana State Department of Health and the Department of Child Services about girls younger than 14 years old obtaining abortions, and he also failed to file reports in a timely manner.
The Indiana Medical Licensing Board took Klopfer’s medical license in mid-2016.
Klopfer died Sept. 3 at age 75. An attorney for Klopfer’s family called the Will County Sheriff’s Department on Sept. 12 after finding the preserved fetuses at the property he shared with his wife, according to a sheriff’s department statement.
“The family is cooperating fully with this investigation. There is no evidence that any medical procedures were conducted at the property,” according to a sheriff’s department statement.