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Child Buried in Conn. Found in N.J. River

A fisherman made a disturbing find Sunday on the banks of New Jersey's Passaic River: The body of a toddler inside an airtight plastic bag.

Now CBS Station WCBS reports an even more disturbing element to the story.

Police believe the 2-year-old's body was removed from a grave in a Connecticut cemetery.

WCBS correspondent Christine Sloan reports that New Jersey medical examiners linked the body to a Connecticut family, who had buried their child two years ago.

The toddler, who has not been identified, died of a pre-existing condition.

On Monday, Stamford Police investigators with the Passaic county CSI unit and Clifton Police Department exhumed the coffin in a Stamford cemetery and found it to be empty.

"We were surprised to find that it had been broken into and the body removed," Officer Richard Conklin told WCBS.

"The parents were shocked," Conklin said. "(They) had no reason to believe the child was not in the ground, and seemed to be quite shocked when we delivered the news."

"You have to have no morals to come in and dig something up, and then throw it away like it's garbage," Darryl Spearman, whose own son was buried next to the child, told WCBS.

Conklin said that police have yet to identify any suspects in the dumping. Forensics experts are examining the coffin and plastic bag for fingerprints, DNA or any other evidence.

They are also looking into the possibility that the child may have been stolen as part of some ritual.

Conklin told WCBS correspondent Sean Hennessey that the body was in good condition, with no signs of ritualistic marks.

The cemetery's caretaker, who has been working with investigators, declined to comment.

Sloan notes that grave-digging was a common practice in the 18th century, but Connecticut police said it is also a problem in their state. Two skulls were recently found on top of a grave at another cemetery.

If convicted, the person responsible for dumping the body would face up to five years in prison.

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