File photo

Helsinki -

Police in the northern Finnish city of Oulu on Wednesday said they had launched an investigation after finding five dead foetuses in an apartment building basement.

A 35-year-old woman was taken into custody on Tuesday on suspicion of manslaughter, police inspector Seppo Leinonen told dpa.

The arrest came after police were alerted earlier on Tuesday by the building's janitor, who had noted a bad smell in the basement. Leinonen said several packages containing the remains of the foetuses were found in a storage room belonging to the woman, who had moved to the building several months ago.

Forensic tests were pending. Initial results suggested the foetuses were almost full-term, but badly decomposed, the police inspector said.

The woman has told police the foetuses were stillborn, and that she had given birth to them several years earlier when living in another location in Oulu, which also being investigated.

A remand custody hearing was due to take place on Friday.

Leinonen declined to comment on whether the woman had previously been treated for psychiatric issues, but said she did not have a criminal record. Her husband was unaware of the events.

The births were believed to have taken place before they were married, Leinonen said. - Sapa-dpa