NORTH CANTON: Authorities believe a North Canton woman may have taken a family secret to her grave that may take investigators several weeks or months to unravel — if ever.
The woman’s son, Eric Adams, made a grisly discovery — the skeletal remains of two infants wrapped in blankets and locked inside a foot locker — while cleaning out his recently deceased mother’s home on Monday.
Adams called North Canton Police to the home his mother, Judith A. Shumar, had rented out in the Royal Mobile Home Park on North Main Street after he and a cousin made the discovery as they removed her belongings. Shumar passed away Nov. 28.
Adams, 41, returned to California Tuesday after speaking to police, North Canton police Chief Stephan Wilder said.
Authorities are now making contacts with Shumar’s extended family, many of whom live in Louisville area, where Shumar lived before moving to North Canton about five years ago.
“Our investigators have been making contacts since [Monday] night,” Wilder said. “We are going to try to check with acquaintances and family and see if they have any knowledge of what we are investigating.”
Shumar, 66, was buried at Sacred Heart of Mary Cemetery in Louisville on Saturday.
“[The son] was very cooperative. He remembers moving the foot locker from her residence in Louisville over to her mobile home in North Canton,” Wilder said. “He had no idea what was in the locker. He was just trying to help his mom move.”
Adams declined comment on Tuesday.
Doug Lindower, a manager at the mobile home park, said he first noticed that something was amiss in the trailer on Monday when he saw Adams in front of the trailer around 12:30 p.m. “running around and waving his hands in the air.”
“I came over to make sure he was OK. He proceeded to tell me about the box and brought it out and opened it,” Lindower said. “ You could certainly tell it was an infant’s remains. You could see the bones, rib cage and a skull.”
One skeleton was wrapped in a blue blanket that was black with decay, said Lindower. He did not see a second skeleton in the battered blue foot locker.
Shumar lived alone and was believed to be divorced, Wilder said.
Shumar’s death notice reported that she was born in East Liverpool and graduated from Louisville High School in 1965.
Lindower said Shumar had suffered a stroke several years ago and used a walker to get around.
“She was really a very nice lady,” he said.
Authorities are not sure of the age of the remains, but Wilder said, they appear to be old.
“They could be 5 or 50 years old. We don’t know for sure. We have to rely on the forensic analysis by the Stark County Coroner’s Office.
Coroner P.S. Murthy plans to send the foot locker and remains to the Anthropology Department of Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., for a more extensive forensic examination.
“I don’t know how long it will take for them to do their examination,” Wilder said. “Hopefully, we might be able to get some guidance on the sex and age through a DNA analysis.”
Kathy Antoniotti can be reached at 330-996-3565 or email@example.com.