Multiple theories have been swirling around the origin of a bag of severed hands found on an icy Siberian island. Russian investigators now believe they have the answer.
Several days ago Russian fishermen found a sack containing 54 severed hands in the far eastern stretches of icy Siberia near the Chinese border.
The frozen hands belonged to at least 27 people, local police in Khabarovsk found after conducting fingerprint checks.
The Siberian Times reported that an investigative committee has come up with an odd answer to a riddle that has prompted all sorts of speculation about the hands' origin.
It appears that the hands were from a forensic laboratory or a hospital and were improperly discarded, it reported.
Local media reported the sack was found alongside medical bandages and surgical shoe covers.
Retained for fingerprints?
In Russia, the hands of unidentified corpses are sometimes severed in order to retain fingerprints for identification after the burial.
However, it is unclear why both hands of corpses would be cut off when only one would be needed for identification. It is also unclear why fingerprints were not taken and stored in a database, instead of severing hands.
The investigating committee is now looking into whether a local hospital or forensic lab improperly discarded the hands.
"These biological objects (hands) are not of criminal origin, but are disposed of in a manner not provided for by law," the investigative committee said in a statement.