Russian investigators say no foul play is suspected in the discovery of a bag containing nearly two dozen amputated human hands that washed up this week on an island near the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk.
The bag was located after a fisherman found a single hand on the Amur River island on March 6.
According to the regional Investigative Committee, the hands -- 26 in all -- appear to have come from a local medical examiner’s laboratory, responsible for performing autopsies and identifying bodies.
"These biological objects do not have a criminal origin, but have been disposed in a manner not stipulated by law," the committee said in a statement.
The news agency RIA Novosti, citing an unnamed law enforcement source, said bandages and hospital-style shoe covers were also found at the scene.
Local news reports said the discovery pointed to a common practice among morgues and medical examiners in Russia: cutting off corpses' hands for storage and future identification.
It wasn’t immediately clear, however, why a more typical procedure -- like fingerprinting a corpse during an autopsy -- was not used.
According to the English-language The Siberian Times, some commentators on local social-media sites were both skeptical about the official explanations, while others were incredulous that there might be many bodies unable to be identified by laboratory scientists.