Mysterious Bag of 54 Human Hands Found by River Was Thrown Out by Forensic Scientists, Russian Officials Say

Sunset on the Amur River in Khabarovsk, Russia. This is the river where a fisherman found 54 mysterious human hands. Sputnik Mania / Flickr

By the Amur River in Russia, a fisherman found a grisly surprise: Twenty-seven pairs of human hands, apparently dumped and with no obvious origin. Now, officials suggest that forensic scientists may have thrown the body parts away.

The fisherman first spotted one hand, and later found a bag with 53 more, as Siberian Times reported. The surprising nature of the discovery led some to speculate that the hands may have been from victims of gang-related crimes or something equally sinister. Siberian Times suggested that people may have had their hands amputated as punishment for theft.

As they weren't far from the Chinese border, some suspected that the hands may have come from China, where biological supply companies sometimes process dead human bodies for sale and display.

However, the Investigative Committee of The Russian Federation posted on the app Telegram that the hands were actually from a forensics lab in the city of Khabarovsk, Live Science reported. Investigators had also found other medical supplies nearby, suggesting that it may have been a haphazard and illegal dump.

Forensic labs sometimes remove hands from the cadavers they are studying to keep fingerprints after destroying the rest of the remains. If they had kept the hands together, it's possible that they discarded them when they no longer needed them.

Macabre bag containing 27 pairs of human hands found in bag on Amur River island. Mystery over who the hands belonged to, when they were chopped off, and why. GRAPHIC IMAGES

— The Siberian Times (@siberian_times) March 8, 2018

The committee got fingerprints from one of the hands to try to determine more about the dump. If they find the person responsible for the illegal dump, they may consider punishing the person who didn't properly destroy or discard the remains.

"CKR investigators establish all the circumstances of the incident," they wrote in the Telegram post, as translated by Google Translate. "Based on the [audit] results, a legal assessment will be made of the actions of officials of the forensic medical institution in the city of Khabarovsk responsible for the disposal of these biological objects."