An investigation is underway after jars of preserved human tongues were found below a house previously owned by a former UF researcher and faculty member.
On Monday, large plastic jars containing human tongues were found in the crawlspace of the home off Northwest 16th Avenue, said Gainesville Police Department spokesperson Jorge Campos. A home repair inspector discovered the jars and called GPD after opening one and finding the remains.
Ronald Adrian Baughman, the former owner of the house, worked at UF as a faculty member within the College of Dentistry and as a researcher who published studies in the 1970s and ’80s, said UF spokesperson Steve Orlando.
The Alligator tried calling several phone numbers associated with Baughman’s name but was unable to get in touch with him as of Tuesday evening. A reporter was also unable to get in touch with his ex-wife.
Orlando said Baughman retired in 2002 and has not worked with the university since then.
“All indications so far is that the specimen didn’t have anything to do with the university,” Campos said.
Baughman’s ex-wife, who currently lives in the home, told police the tongues were part of her former husband’s pathology research, Campos said. She said she knew the jars of tongues existed but forgot they were under the house.
Campos said one jar was dated from the 1960s written on it, as well as the word “Virginia.” Baughman’s ex-wife told police the specimen came from the University of Virginia.
Campos said multiple tongues were found in the jars, but he could not specify how many.
The jars have been handed over to the medical examiner and are currently under investigation, Campos said.
Baughman’s dental license expired on Feb. 28, 2008, and he does not have a current practice location in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health. No public complaints, disciplinary or emergency actions were found.
Contact Samia Lagmis at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @SLagmis.