A father and daughter have been arrested after the decomposing bodies of three newborn babies were discovered in a hidden basement inside their “house of horrors”.
Police made the gruesome find at the home of Piotr Gierasik, 54, and his daughter Paulina Gierasik, 20, who are said to have been in an incestuous relationship for years.
The pair lived in the small village of Czerniki in northern Poland, where locals told media that they often witnessed the father and daughter walking around “hand-in-hand”.
Authorities raided their home on September 15 and found three bodies of newborn babies in their basement, wrapped in black plastic and in various states of decomposition.
Unconfirmed reports say that one of the bodies wrapped in a black plastic bin liner was about three weeks old at the time of death.
Police had to navigate a dank and unstable corridor with crumbling brickwork before lowering themselves into the horror-filled pit where the bodies were found.
Piotr and Paulina are now facing life in prison if convicted of murder and incest.
Colleagues who worked with the young woman at a cake shop in a neighbouring village told reporters that her father “shaved her head so that other boys wouldn’t look at her” and that she looked up to him “as if he were God”.
Prosecutor Mariusz Duszyński told Polish news outlet Fakt that the father had been charged with three counts of murder, a charge of incest with Paulina and one of incest with another daughter, while Paulina was charged with incest and two counts of murder.
While two of the infants were Paulina’s, the mother of the third slain infant was one of her sisters.
Piotr is believed to have fathered the three newborn babies, PolsatNews reported.
It was with the help of Paulina’s colleagues that police laid charges, with a fellow shop worker reportedly alerting social services after seeing a “disturbing” text on the young woman’s phone.
“We all guessed she was pregnant, I think she had tied belts around herself like a sort of corset,” the worker told the Super Express newspaper.
“When she returned early from her holiday the change was visible. She was much thinner, weaker, and constantly tired.
“When we asked about the child, she feigned surprise and denied it.”
Her colleagues also noticed that Paulina’s father always dropped her off and picked her up from work, and that she always called him by his first name.
When she returned to work without her pregnant belly, colleagues claim they saw heartless text messages between her and her father discussing the child, who was still alive at the time.
They notified authorities, but sadly not in time to save the infant’s life.
While some in the village say they were suspicious of the pair, others were shocked when news of the arrests came to light.
“The father was left alone with the children,” one local told the Super Express newspaper.
“There are a lot of them, ten or twelve, the oldest ones have already left.
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“Piotr made a good impression. The yard is neglected, but he installed new windows in the house.
“There was no sign of him drinking. He took the kids for walks or to the forest to pick mushrooms.
“Just ordinary people. Who would have thought that such abominations existed in their home.”
Katarzyna Matyszczak, the manager of the shop where Paulina worked, said that everyone at the shop was “gossiping about it”.
“His youngest daughter Paulina is a beautiful girl. Everyone said she was pregnant. So I asked her about it directly,” she explained.
“She denied it. One of her friends didn’t believe it.
“I won’t say who, but she was the one who informed the relevant services about the whole matter, because she suspected that she had given birth to a child.”
Prosecutors are now waiting for an autopsy to determine how the three babies died.
Meanwhile, police are continuing to search the property to see if any more bodies are hidden in the house.
The father and daughter are being held in custody as the investigation continues.
They face life behind bars if convicted.
Incest perpetrated by parents of either sex against children of either sex is considered a form of child abuse.
It is often difficult for children to speak out against their parents in this situation, due to the controlling and fear-based nature of their relationship.
It can also be “normalised” in the mind of the child being abused, as that is often what they have always known.