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Local

Investigators search abortion doctor Klopfer's Fort Wayne clinic building

Illinois authorities plan news conference today on investigation after fetal remains found at doctor's home in Crete

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – After spending more than seven hours rifling through the clutter inside abortion doctor Ulrich Klopfer's former clinic, investigators began loading boxes of Klopfer’s belongings into a large U-Haul truck Thursday.

Officers began searching the building at 2210 Inwood Drive just before 9 a.m. Investigators from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office and local police had arrived at the scene about 8 a.m. before obtaining a search warrant to go inside the clinic, where Klopfer performed abortions until 2013.

News of his Sept. 3 death came as a surprise to locals who worked in the neighboring buildings, and were accustomed to seeing Klopfer during his weekly overnight stays in the clinic basement. Even in the years since Klopfer’s office was shut down, the doctor stopped by regularly, said Thomas Bastress, who owns a Napa Auto Parts store next door to Klopfer’s shuttered clinic.

“He’d come over here every Thursday, and the last two Thursdays he wasn’t here and we knew something was up,” Bastress said.

It was only a matter of time before police raided the late doctor’s office, Bastress said, somewhat unsurprised at the sight of the heavy police presence unfolding in his work parking lot.

“I was wondering when this all was going to come down," Bastress said. " … He was a creepy guy.”

Last week Klopfer’s family discovered more than 2,200 preserved fetal remains stored in cardboard boxes in the garage at his home in Will County. Officials said at a news conference Thursday, that they’re shifting the focus of their investigation to Indiana, where Klopfer also operated clinics in Gary and South Bend.

Police knocked on the Fort Wayne clinic door just before 9 a.m. and entered the building when no one responded. Uniformed investigators wearing gloves passed in and out of the building throughout the day, but declined to comment.

Cathie Humbarger, executive director for the Allen County Right to Life, which has a building next door to the former clinic, watched as police wearing surgical masks went inside the building that for years only Klopfer had entered. In the time she knew Klopfer, the doctor was known to make inappropriate, sexually explicit comments to female volunteers with the Right to Life, Humbarger said.

Dr. Geoffrey Cly, who worked for three years as Klopfer’s backup physician also questioned Klopfer’s treatment of his patients.

“About a year ago or two a former employee of mine came to me and said she’d had an abortion by Dr. Klopfer when she was a teenager … He was making fun of her. He told her to stop being a baby, and to knock it off and that ‘no it doesn’t hurt you’re just being a baby’ during the abortion,” Cly said.

Klopfer performed his last known abortion at the Fort Wayne clinic in December 2013, Humbarger said.

Court records show Klopfer lived on Pine Court in Crete Township, about 10 miles from the state line. Neighbors described him as a hoarder, while an attorney for his wife said she had not been in the garage where the remains were found for decades.

In October 2018, Klopfer opened up his clinic for an interview with married couple and documentary makers Amber and Mark Archer.

“He just looked disheveled,” Mark Archer said. " ... he looked like an old man who had spent the night on the park bench.”

In fact, Klopfer spent the night at the clinic, appearing to have been woken up when the couple knocked on the office door for their scheduled 9 a.m. interview.

“It was very cold, very dark, very dirty,” Mark Archer said. “It looked to me like one day everybody walked out, dropped everything on the floor and never came back.”

The Archers live in Fort Wayne and spent the past year putting together a documentary film about Klopfer’s practices. News of the remains found at his Will County home has delayed the release of the film until early 2020, Mark Archer said.

Even after hours of conversation with Klopfer, neither Amber nor Mark Archer could say with certainty why the doctor might have kept the remains.

“In my opinion I think George held onto the remains either as trophies … or trying to cover up what he had done,” March Archer said.

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