CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – A mummified baby that’s belonged to a local family for decades is being investigated by the state attorney general’s office.

Charles Peavey, 41, said the tiny preserved corpse has been passed down in his family since it was discovered among his great-great uncle’s possessions in a Manchester attic.

Investigators got word of the remains after Peavey’s 4-year-old niece was overheard telling another child that her uncle was a killer and had a dead baby.

Police visited the girl’s mother and saw a photo of the mummy. Peavey contacted police when he learned they were investigating. Now the mummy is in the hands of investigators, and Peavey said he was told a forensic anthropologist would be examining it.

Karen Huntress of the state attorney general’s office would not comment on the investigation.

Peavey said the mummy belonged to his great-great uncle John Peavey, who was born in Ashland in 1850. The family estimates the mummy is 80 to 90 years old. It was discovered among the uncle’s possessions in 1947 in Manchester.

The body was wrapped in a bunting and tucked inside a box, Peavey said. On top of the box, in a circle of shells, were the words “Sacred to the memory of our little Hawaiian home across the sea.”

Members of the Peavey family have different theories about where the mummy came from, but Charles Peavey said he believes the story his late father told him. According to Peavey’s father, the uncle, who traveled widely, had been in love with a Hawaiian woman who was carrying his child. She died in childbirth and the baby was stillborn.

Peavey, who has a collection of family memorabilia that dates back 200 years, said he values the small mummy as a connection to the past.

“My friends at work say that even though this is not weird to me, I have to understand that it is weird to other people,” he said. “But for me, it’s something tangible to hold on to from my great-great uncle.”

Information from: Concord Monitor,