EAST ST. LOUIS, Illinois (AP) -- The St. Clair County coroner says the three missing children of a slain pregnant woman have been found dead.
The coroner would not say where the children were located, only that they were found together.
A woman was charged Saturday in the deaths of a pregnant friend and the fetus authorities believe she cut from the slain woman's womb after knocking the victim unconscious.
Tiffany Hall, 24, was charged as authorities searched for the dead woman's two sons, ages 7 and 2, and 1-year-old daughter. Authorities said they were last seen with Hall on Monday, three days before she was taken into custody.
Hall faces charges of first-degree murder and intentional homicide of an unborn child in the death of 23-year-old Jimella Tunstall, said St. Clair County State's Attorney Robert Haida. (Watch as officials announce the charges and ask for help to find the children -- 1:14)
Hall is being held in lieu of $5 million bail in the St. Clair County Jail in Belleville.
Relatives of both women told media outlets the two grew up together and attended alternative schools. The woman in custody often baby-sat Tunstall's children, and Tunstall never expressed worry about leaving them in her care, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
An autopsy showed Tunstall bled to death after sustaining an abdominal wound caused by a sharp object, believed to be scissors, said Ace Hart, a deputy St. Clair County coroner.
Hart said he believes Tunstall was knocked unconscious before her baby, seven months into gestation, was removed during a slaying he called "very graphic and very brutal."
Illinois State Police Capt. Craig Koehler refused to publicly discuss the evidence or possible statements Hall has made to investigators. Authorities have also refused to reveal how the women knew each other, or whether Hall's alleged confession came before Tunstall's body was found.
Haida did not immediately return messages Saturday seeking information on Hall's arraignment and attorney.
The charges came a day after police searched for the three missing children in the 1,100-acre Frank Holten State Park, just blocks from where Tunstall's body was found. Investigators would not say what led them to believe the children were there.
Hall summoned police to the park September 15, saying she had gone into labor, Hart said. The dead baby, taken to a hospital, showed no signs of trauma, and an autopsy the next day failed to pinpoint a cause of death, he said.
Hall would not let doctors at the hospital examine her and offered conflicting reasons for why she went into labor, alternately saying that she had consensual sex and that she was raped, Hart said.
Authorities say Hall acknowledged to her boyfriend during the baby's funeral Thursday that the child wasn't his, and that she killed the mother. The boyfriend told police, who arrested his girlfriend hours later, investigators said.
DNA tests should determine definitively whether the baby was the one Tunstall was carrying, Hart said.
The baby was buried Thursday as Taylor Horn after a funeral arranged by L. King Funeral Chapel, whose president said Hall called minutes after the service was to start, asking if she could reschedule for a different day so more relatives could attend. At the time, Levi King said, only two relatives were there.
The woman showed up two hours late, ultimately signing an affidavit for the funeral home stating that the child was hers, King said.
The East St. Louis case is the second recent case in the area involving the alleged theft of babies.
Shannon Torrez, 36, of Lonedell, Missouri -- about and hour's drive south of St. Louis -- is accused of slashing a young mother's throat and kidnapping her baby on September 15. The baby was returned unharmed Tuesday, the same day Torrez was arrested.
Also in Missouri, Lisa Montgomery will stand trial April 30 on charges of snatching a baby from the womb of Bobbie Jo Stinnett at her Skidmore, Missouri, home in 2004. The baby survived.