"This fetus had actually been washed and put through a drying process, and during the period where the sheets are being linened, folded and ironed the fetus dropped out of the sheets," Durham Police Cpl. Brett Hallan said.
The Servitex linen service reports that it picked up laundry from about 20 commercial locations Tuesday, including medical facilities, restaurants and rest homes.
Police say they have no way of pin-pointing the exact place where the fetus was originally wrapped in the sheet, nor were investigators able to determine the age or race of the fetus.
It was transported to the medical examiner's office in Chapel Hill, but they would not accept the fetus to do an autopsy. Police are still investigating the incident.
"It's pretty messed up that somebody would even do it, and try to pawn it off on us," Servitex employee Tyi McCarley said. "No one has explained what happened, but I don't think they know what to say, honestly."