Jars of tongues under a Florida home? A former professor forgot them, cops say

MIAMI —Who has jars of tongues stored underneath their home?

Apparently, a former University of Florida researcher.

At least six jars of preserved human remains, mainly tongues, were found under a home in Gainesville on Monday afternoon, according to police. The remains were found by a worker who was inspecting the home’s foundation.

Labels on the jars date most of the remains from the late 1960s, Gainesville Police Chief Inspector Jorge Campos said.

The woman who owns the home said the remains were part of her ex-husband’s research when he worked at UF, Campos said. She said he stored the specimens inside the home, reportedly under the floorboards, because of the cool temperatures. When they divorced, he moved out and left them behind.

He forgot they were there. So did she, Campos said.

TV news station WCJB, which provides news for the Gainesville area, has identified the researcher as UF emeritus professor Dr. Ronald Baughman. He worked in the College of Dentistry from 1971 until he retired in 2002, a university spokesman confirmed to the Miami Herald.

Reached by phone, the former professor declined to comment on the discovery.

Campos says investigators believe the remains were part of Baughman’s research, but they have collected the tongue-filled jars and shipped them to the medical examiner’s office. They’ll try to confirm the identity and age of the remains and determine whether they were meant for research.

“With the University of Florida being here, it’s something we sometimes see but not frequently,” said Campos, who says officers have occasionally found strange items in the city through the years because of the amount of researchers who reside at UF and the nearby hospitals.

The medical examiner’s findings will determine whether the investigation continues.

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