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Body parts found in Michigan sewer line

By Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press –

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. — Authorities said what appear to be human body parts were found Wednesday in a sanitary sewer inceptor line in Sterling Heights where crews have been doing a grouting project.

The body parts, one of which may have a tattoo, were discovered between 8 and 8:30 a.m. under 15 Mile Road, just east of Maple Lane. There may be 10 to 15 body parts, according to Macomb County Deputy Public Works Commissioner Gene Schabath.

The parts were on a platform 50 feet below 15 Mile. The section of road was closed to traffic so that work crews and Sterling Heights firefighters could recover the body parts and check the sewer line for more parts.

Authorities say they do not believe the body parts were put into the line at the location, but may have come anywhere north or west of the line. The 21-mile-long line starts in Oakland County and eventually ends in Detroit, Schabath said.

The body parts were not at the location Tuesday when workers cleared debris as they do every morning where the work is being done, Sterling Height Police Lt. Luke Riley said.

Riley said based on the conditions of the parts, they did not appear to have been in the sewer long.

The county medical examiner will be examining the parts and police will be scouring missing person reports to try to determine the person’s identity, authorities said.

The inceptor line is 9 1/2 feet wide and services 833,000 customers in different communities, Schabath said. He said there are no pumps in the line leading to the platform where the parts were found; the flow is gravity fed.

Schabath said the project started about six months ago and involves workers closing leaks in the line.

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