And it was here he found something heartbreaking. | 22 Words

It's safe to say that even in the most perfect of families, there are certain skeletons in the closet. But some of these buried family secrets are more sinister than others - as one man Missouri discovered this week.

He'd been told his whole life not to worry about the contents of a specific box in his mother's freezer, as it was the top of a wedding cake, preserved for sentimental reasons. But after her passing earlier this month, he started the clean-out process and discovered something sinister.

A frozen, perfectly preserved baby's body had been residing right next to his frozen peas for at least the past thirty-seven years. Now police are wondering how to begin investigating such a cold case.

There's nothing in life that quite replicates the closeness of a family.

The fact you share everything - from a home to literal DNA - means for the majority of us, our family represents our closest human bond.

But that doesn't mean everything is out in the open.

Families are notorious for having deep (and exceptionally well-hidden) secrets. Because families tend to want to protect one another, there has to be a certain element of secrecy.

And while it's only natural to want to protect your family (and yourself).

It can lead to a complex web of secrets and lies that end up hurting your family more than protecting them, way further down the line.

As one man discovered earlier this week.

via: Shutterstock

Our story takes place in the city of St. Louis, in Missouri, where one man discovered a chilling secret that's shaken the foundations of his family.

And the location of the secret was particularly strange.

Rather than being hidden deep in a closet, a safe, or a secret drawer, this family secret was buried among the ice creams and leftovers, in the freezer.

Here's the man in question.

via: KSDK News

Thiry-seven-year-old Adam Smith was clearing out his mother's home when he made the horrific discovery.

His mother, Barbara, had recently passed away.

via: KDSK News

She died as a result of lung cancer on July 21st, and Adam had moved in during her final weeks to take care of her.

Here's the apartment they were sharing.

via: KDSK News

After Barbara's passing, Adam was charged with the unenviable task of clearing out her home - including the deceased woman's freezer.

And it was here he found something heartbreaking.

via: KDSK News

There had long been a box in the top left of his mother's freezer which Adam had been told to categorically not look inside.

The reason given?

via: Shutterstock

Barbara had told Adam that the box contained the preserved top of a wedding cake - inedible, but held on to as something of a souvenir.

But Adam had been told to clear the entire house.

via: Shutterstock

And that included the freezer. So, for the first time in his thirty-seven years, he removed the box from the freezer and took a look inside.

When he opened the box, he found there was no cake inside.

via: Shutterstock

Instead, what he instantly noticed was a mysterious pink, fleecy, baby blanket. Which was already a pretty bizarre thing to have stored in a freezer.

But that wasn't all.

via: KDSK News

Underneath the blanket, Adam discovered something which made his heart stop. Through the blanket he could "could feel a foot."

Understandably, Adam was "freaked out."

via: KDSK News

Speaking to KDSK News, he claimed the baby he found "still had skin, hair, and everything. It was mummified."

Unsure what to do, he immediately put the corpse back.

via: Shutterstock

Adam then called the police, hoping they could better figure out what on earth was going on.

Understandably, he's been left with questions.

via: KDSK News

"Finding this, I'm more like confused, angry," he explained. "I just want to find closure. I want to know more answers."

He's hopeful the police will be able to provide some new information to help him.

Although he does have some particular suspicions regarding the identity of this mystery baby.

He claims his mother had always been an intensely private person.

He says, whenever he brought up the mysterious box, "it was either a no-no conversation or blew me off. My mom has always been secretive about things about life."

He had heard some conflicting stories over the years.

She had once told Adam that she'd given a child up for adoption before he was born, but there were other family members who'd heard differently.

A different relative had heard otherwise.

via: Shutterstock

Barbara had told other family members that she had once been pregnant with twins, one of whom was stillborn, and one of which she put up for adoption.

What surprises Adam is that his mother never explained herself.

via: Shutterstock

He'd been looking after his mother right up to her final days, and "even as she was on her deathbed, she never told me what was in that box," he claimed.

Which has led Adam to have some suspicions.

via: Shutterstock

"That's what makes me think maybe she did something to this baby and didn't want to tell anyone because she was afraid she would get in trouble."

Police are also curious about Adam's theory.

They've taken a DNA sample from him to test against the unidentified baby to see if they are, indeed, related.

It's clear they're taking the case seriously.

via: Shutterstock

According to reports, they're investigating the possibility of a homicide alongside trying to identify the mystery child.

And while trying to find answers is, of course, important ...

via: Shutterstock

It's also essential that we shouldn't forget that this is the story of some sort of family tragedy - one that has impacted both Barabara, Adam, and that mystery baby.