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SHELBY - The infant whose body was discovered Tuesday afternoon in the trunk of a car at a Shelby auto repair shop was a girl, investigators say.

Richland County coroner's investigator Bob Ball said an autopsy was conducted today by the Summit County Medical Examiner's office.

Ball said the infant was determined to be female. No other details were released this afternoon.

The baby's remains were discovered by an auto repairman at Broadway Automotive and Exhaust, 211 N. Gamble St. The infant was found in the trunk of a vehicle brought to the north-side garage by a 17-year-old girl. It was inside a copy paper box stored in the trunk.

The teen told police she had the child at home in late January or early February and wrapped the baby in a towel and placed it in the trunk around that time. The remains were kept in the car "apparently for a long time - months," Shelby police Chief Roub said.

No charges had been filed, according to Roub, who said it is too early to determine what types of charges might be considered. Police need information on when the baby was born and what condition it was in at the time of the birth, along with other issues, he said.

"There are so many things we don't know at this point," Roup said. "We're doing the background investigation while we wait for information from the coroner's office."

The 17-year-old girl, a local resident, took the vehicle to the garage last week, retrieved it during the weekend, then returned it to the shop to get more repairs done.

"There was some kind of minor issue with the vehicle," Roub said.

Bringing a vehicle containing a deceased baby to a repair shop "was kind of odd," he said. "I've been here for like 33 years, and this is the first time I can ever remember dealing with a case like this."

Roub did not know of any burial arrangements.

"As far as I know, that's something that has not been discussed," he said.

Richland County Assistant Prosecutor Gary D. Bishop said Shelby police were in contact with the prosecutor's office concerning the case.

"We're specifically not speculating on what charges may or may not be pursued, until we know what the facts are," he said.

One possible charge is abuse of a corpse, normally prosecuted as a misdemeanor, Bishop said.

The assistant prosecutor said it may be some time before a decision is made on charges. A medical examiner's report from the autopsy may not be forwarded to Richland County "for a number of weeks," because of the need to wait for results from toxicology tests.

"The Shelby Police Department, like our office, we are both taking this one step at a time and making sure the investigation is complete," Bishop said.

By: Linda Mart/CentralOhio.com

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