Bizarre Discovery in Rome, Georgia Has Ties to Panhandle

Working from a tip from Bay County sheriff’s investigators, Rome, Georgia police investigators discovered what is believed to be two human fetuses in jars. They suspect the fetuses were placed there by a Walton County woman.

This story is unusual enough on its own, but there’s another strange twist. Walton County sheriff’s investigators have confirmed the woman believed to have placed the fetuses in that Rome, Georgia storage shed is Sarah Jo Izard.

Sarah Jo Izard is a woman with an uncertain future. A week and a half ago her husband committed suicide. She is now under psychiatric observation at the Life Management Center in Panama City, while forensic scientists with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are examining evidence that could put her behind bars.

Thursday, Rome, Georgia police received a call from the Bay County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators here said they had a tip from a woman that two human fetuses were stored in a self-storage complex in Georgia.

Rome police investigators got a search warrant and opened up the unit at the Store More storage facility. They found a green container, and inside were two backpacks lined with plastic, some air fresheners, and they were inside containers.

Officials say whoever packed the fetuses was planning on keeping them for a long time. They believe the fetuses were stored there four to five years ago and are about a year apart. They believe the fetuses are six and eight months old.

NewsChannel Seven has learned that the woman who claims to have put the fetuses in the storage unit is Sarah Jo Izard. Izard is the widow of former Indiana women’s basketball coach Jim Izard. The 57-year-old died on Tuesday, February 28 near Rosemary Beach in South Walton County. Sheriff’s investigators say he shot himself in the condo the couple shared in the View of the Gulf development on County Road 30-A.

According to the preliminary investigation report, Sarah Jo Izard was out when her husband shot himself. She returned to discover his body and called 911.

The couple met when Sarah Jo played basketball on Izard’s Indiana team from 1995 to 1999. They were married sometime after she graduated.

Indiana University fired Izard in 2000 he wound up at Berry College in Rome, Georgia, where he coached for two and a half years, but in January 2005, he resigned in mid-season for what was described as personal reasons.

After Izard’s death, friends worried about Sarah Jo’s health. Earlier this week, one of those friends claims Sarah Jo confided in her that she had gotten pregnant twice and aborted the pregnancies. The woman called Bay County sheriff’s investigators who notified the authorities in Rome.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is examining the fetuses, trying to determine if they are human. Depending on what they find, Sarah Jo Izard could face charges.

Local authorities say the least she could face under Florida law is a misdemeanor for self-abortion, or illegal disposal of a fetus. Georgia officials say she could face charges of concealing a death or feticide, but they say they re going to have to find out all the facts and where the events happened to even determine who will have jurisdiction over any possible case.


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