A mystery from over two decades ago, concerning missing brains from a respected collection at the University of Texas, Austin, finally emerged after a misinformed story spread online, alleging that the brains had been found. The truth: They were destroyed more than 10 years ago.

A story alleging that 100 jars of brains went missing in the 1990s from the university's Austin campus, just to be found 20 years later at the university's San Antonio campus, has since been proven false, with numerous outlets, including The L.A. Times retracting it. The news organization has since updated its site with a revised version. “They have the brains,” Tim Schallert, a neuroscience professor at Austin told The Times in its original report. “They read a media report of the missing brains and they called to say, ‘We got those brains!’"

The brains, sealed in jars of formaldehyde, were part of a collection of roughly 200, belonging to patients who were treated in the 1950s at the Austin State Hospital, formerly known as the Old Texas State Lunatic Asylum. Dr. Coleman de Chenar, a pathologist at AHS, collected the brains from patients who reportedly suffered from a variety of mental illnesses and disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, Down syndrome, brain malformations, and burst blood vessels. One of the brains reported in the original story was said to belong to Charles Whitman, a former marine who carried out a deadly sniper attack in 1966 on the Austin campus, killing 16 people. Police later killed Whitman, after which Chenar performed an autopsy on the body. The university won the collection in 1987, beating out five other schools including Harvard.

The Atlantic had published a story on the missing brains the day before news broke that the brains had been found. San Antonio responded to the story within hours, saying that the information was incorrect and that the school did not have the brains. "Our brains are sitting in class studying for finals," Christi Fish, director of communications at San Antonio, told Medical Daily, adding that the misinformation was spread by someone who had overheard and misinterpreted what a faculty member was saying.

An investigation into the matter revealed that the brains were destroyed over a decade ago because they were no longer suitable to be studied. “A preliminary university investigation has revealed that UT environmental health and safety officials disposed of multiple brain specimens in approximately 2002 in accordance with protocols concerning biological waste,” said UTAustin in a statement, according to The Times. The school added that "between 40 and 60 jars, some of which contained multiple human brains," were disposed of.

The school also refuted the claim that one of the brains was Whitman's, a detail that helped increase popularity behind the original report. “There is no evidence we ever received Whitman’s brain," university spokesman Gary Susswein told The Times. The University of Texas at Austin did not returns calls to Medical Daily for comment.