It was supposed to be a routine call, just a clogged toilet in need of repair.
Instead, plumbers at a clinic in the Indian state of Kerala on Friday made a ghastly discovery: A 2-day-old baby had been flushed down the toilet, with her placenta still intact.
Abdul Rehman, a doctor who runs the clinic, told local reporters that he called for help when the toilet stopped working. The plumbers got to work, uncovering something that looked like a ball. When they tried to pull it out, a head popped up.
"There wasn't much of a foul smell emanating from the toilet. The body hadn't decomposed when we recovered it. But the baby's placenta was intact and there was blood inside the commode," police told the News Minute. "Seeing the color of the blood, the domestic worker mistook it for muddy water."
Police are reviewing the records of all pregnant patients who checked into the clinic. They think the girl's parents may have brought her in for an appointment, then left her there. Or, they suspect the mother may have delivered her in the bathroom.
"Investigations are underway," police officials told Indian news outlet NDTV. "We are analyzing the records, but we haven't been able to identify her parents yet." An autopsy also will be performed.
Earlier this year, a newborn baby's body was found wrapped in a plastic bag in an airplane toilet. The flight landed in Jakarta, and police later arrested the child's mother, who had given birth midair.
In 2013, a baby in China was flushed down a toilet but survived. Tenants of an apartment building reported hearing crying coming from the pipes in their building. Then, they spotted the newborn's foot popping through the opening of the toilet pipe. The mother told police she did not intend to flush her baby down the toilet.
"That day she felt stomachaches," Jiang Song, the vice director of police, told CNN. "So she went to the toilet. It was actually close to her due date and the baby just slid out."