18 human heads were found at Chicago O'Hare International Airport and the discovery alarmed customs that caused a hold-up in shipment, Washington Post reports Jan. 15. It turns out the heads were sent from Rome to the U.S. for anatomical research purposes.
Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office spokeswoman, Mary Paleologos, explained that the heads were appropriately stored, packaged, and tagged as human specimens. There is no suspicion of foul play. Containers were stores at Cook County morgue until officials decided what to do with them.
Paleologos said the 18 heads were frozen in sealed containers and were sent from a legitimate facility in Rome about a week before Christmas. They arrived via Lufthansa Airlines as cargo and on their way to a U.S. facility located at a suburb in Chicago. The Sun-Times reports that the hold-up is about an ongoing investigation involving the Chicago facility. An X-ray of the shipment alerted customs to the heads found inside. They also found the paperwork a "little confusing" and that's when the hold-up began.
A source told the paper that the investigation into the Chicago research facility is "absolutely not" related to the shipment of the heads.