WASHINGTON (AP) _ Contractors installing duct work in an attic found a suitcase containing the skeleton of a baby who apparently died more than 20 years ago, police said.

Two heating and cooling workers found the suitcase Tuesday in the attic of a two-story house in a well-to-do neighborhood of northwest Washington.

``When they attempted to remove it, the suitcase basically came apart in their hands,'' police Lt. Josiah M. Eaves said.

He said the blue suitcase appeared to be more than 30 years old. The skeleton, which was wrapped in cloth, ``appears to have been there quite a long time, in excess of 20 years,'' Eaves said.

The home was built in 1928 and occupied by members of the same family until the mid-1990s. The last of three elderly sisters who lived there died in 1995 at the age of 102, and the house was sold five years ago.

The current owner told police she never went into the attic.

Eaves said an autopsy would be done to determine the age of the infant, and about when he or she died.