CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A startling discovery at a local wastewater treatment plant is now under investigation.
Warning: some of the information you are about to read may be disturbing.
Workers at the Cincinnati wastewater treatment plant on Gest Street reported that they found a human fetus around 4:30 a.m. Sunday.
Officials with the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati believe the fetus was carried to the treatment plant via the sewer system, according to a memo from City Manager Harry Black to City Council.
Workers said the fetus was surrounded by trash.
It was next in line to be scraped off by a machine, so they made a quick decision.
"It was my friend that got the courage to step up and call 911 and retrieve the little fetus out of the machine," Jennifer Martin said.
Martin said that her friend, as well as the other employees, are still in shock.
"In all the years that he's worked there, nothing like this has ever happened that they know about," Martin said.
Cincinnati police and the Hamilton County Coroner's office were called to the scene.
Police said the coroner's office is now handling the case.
Counseling has been made available to all staff involved in the incident, Black's memo states.
The coroner's office determined the fetus was a 16-18 week old non-viable fetus. The office states that a 20-week fetus is viable according to Ohio law, which is why there is not an ongoing criminal investigation.
"Since the fetus was never viable, they could not open a homicide investigation because it was never alive to begin with," Martin said.
Martin has been talking with the coroner's office about ways to properly honor the fetus.
She said she is hoping the community can come together for a proper burial or cremation.
"Should bring closure to all the people who have been involved," Martin said.
Martin said she believes the fetus was found for a reason - to raise awareness.
She said she hopes this will ensure that women and families know that there are other options and safer ways to handle a situation like this.
"They can call the police and they call the fire department, and it's not their fault that their baby was delivered this early," Martin said. "I haven't been able to sleep just thinking that this doesn't ever have to happen again."
FOX19 NOW spoke with some of the employees who were working that day, but they declined to go on camera.
Officials said they are waiting a few days before deciding what is next for the fetus.