State

Attorney: Crete abortion doctor's widow hadn't been in couple's garage in 25 years

More than 2,000 fetal remains were bags, stored in cardboard boxes, lawyer says

Sherry Klopfer had no idea her husband had kept the remains of more than 2,200 fetuses in the garage at the couple's Crete home, her attorney said Wednesday.

Attorney Kevin Bolger said his client had not set foot in the garage for 25 years. The medically preserved fetal remains were found in Dr. Ulrich Klopfer's house in Crete Township, south of Chicago, and about 10 miles from the Indiana border shortly after his death on Sept. 3.

"She had no idea they were there, no clue," said Kevin Bolger, who is representing the doctor's widow Sherry. "She doesn't know where they came from."

Dr. Klopfer, known to neighbors as "George," provided gynecological care, abortions and vasectomies, at three Indiana clinics – in Fort Wayne, Gary and South Bend – before his medical license was suspended in 2016. The Medical Licensing Board of Indiana in that year found that Klopfer had terminated the pregnancy of a 10-year-old who reported to him she had been raped, but Klopfer did not report the child's claim to any law enforcement agency.

That girl, Serena Dyksen, who is now an adult, said news about the remains in Klopfer's garage has brought back painful memories.

"I feel like I have been violated all over again. Friday night when I first saw the story, my whole body went numb from shock," Dyksen said in a letter issued by Allen County Right to Life. "That shock turned into lying in bed, sobbing at the thought of my baby being on his property, and my tears turned to anger towards the unlicensed Whole Women’s Health in South Bend."

Bolger said Sherry Klopfer had ordered dumpsters shortly after his Sept. 3 death and was in the process of clearing out the garage when she and her sister found the remains. They were sealed in plastic bags placed inside cardboard boxes, he said.

"You couldn't even get in the garage, let alone park a vehicle inside," Bolger said. "There were seven cars on the property for years sitting outside."

Bolger said his client has been cooperating "150%" with Will County authorities, and they in turn, have been cooperating with his client. He said police believe the remains are from the Indiana abortion clinics, but stressed he didn't know that for a fact. He said he doesn't know if anything illegal occurred.

"They understand the shock here of finding all of this and not knowing what's going on," he said of Will County authorities.

The Klopfers had no children, Bolger said.

Neighbors have described Klopfer as a hoarder who packed his garage so tight with boxes that "you couldn't fit an ant in the garage," but they had no idea what was being stored there.

Since the discovery of fetal remains at Klopfer’s property, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul have agreed to work together on an investigation, noting the incident "shocks the conscience."

A doctor who once worked as a backup physician for Klopfer told Shaw Media the abortion doctor was “deranged” and a “psychopath."

Nothing has been shared as of yet as to why the doctor was keeping the remains. A 2016 Indiana law requires aborted fetal remains be cremated or buried, but most of the doctor's practice was before that time, beginning in the 1970s.

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