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Police: Utah mom admitted to killing her 6 babies



By BRADY McCOMBS

PROVO, Utah (AP) - Authorities say a Utah woman accused of killing six babies that she gave birth to over 10 years told investigators that she either strangled or suffocated the children and then put them inside boxes in her garage.

According to a probable cause statement released by police Monday, Megan Huntsman said that between 1996 and 2006, she gave birth to at least seven babies at her home and that all but one of them were born alive.

Huntsman, 39, said she killed them immediately after they were born, and put their bodies inside the boxes. The statement said each baby was wrapped in either a towel or a shirt, and placed in a plastic bag.

Huntsman is being held on $6 million bail - $1 million for each baby she's accused of killing. It wasn't immediately clear if she had an attorney.

Huntsman was arrested Sunday on six counts of murder after police found the infants' tiny bodies. A seventh baby found appears to have been stillborn, Utah County Attorney Jeffrey Buhman said.

Formal charges have not yet been filed against Huntsman and no other arrests have been made but Buhman said the investigation remains open.

Investigators were trying to determine if the seven babies had the same father or multiple fathers, Buhman said.

Police Find 7 Dead Babies In Utah Home

The gruesome case has raised a series of questions about how the killings occurred despite Huntsman carrying out what neighbors said seemed like a normal existence. Police declined to comment on a motive and on what Huntsman said during an interview with investigators.

Her estranged husband found the first infant's body while cleaning out the garage after recently getting out of prison. Authorities do not believe he was aware of the killings and he isn't a person of interest at this time.

Police Capt. Michael Roberts said officers responded to a call from him Saturday about a dead infant, and then they found the six other bodies.

Family and neighbors identified the estranged husband as Darren West, who has been in prison on drug-related charges.

Roberts said police believe West and Huntsman were together when the babies were born.

"We don't believe he had any knowledge of the situation," Roberts told The Associated Press

Asked how West could not have known about the situation, Roberts replied, "That's the million-dollar question. Amazing."

The babies' bodies were sent to the Utah medical examiner's office for tests, including one to determine the cause of death. DNA samples taken from the suspect and her husband will determine definitively whether the two are the parents, as investigators believe.

Huntsman also has three daughters - one teenager and two young adults - who lived at the house.

Neighbors in the middle-class neighborhood of mostly older homes 35 miles south of Salt Lake City say they were shocked by the accusations and perplexed that the woman's older children still living in the home didn't know their mother was pregnant or notice anything suspicious.

Late Sunday, West's family issued a statement saying they were in a "state of shock and confusion."

"We are mourning this tragic loss of life and we are trying to stay strong and help each other through this awful event," the statement said before asking for privacy.

West pleaded guilty in federal court in 2005 to two counts of possessing chemicals intended to be used in manufacturing methamphetamine, court records show. In August 2006, he was sentenced to 9 years in prison, but appealed the term three times. He maintained his innocence and said he never had any intention to manufacture meth.

West's sister Sarah Wright wrote to federal district court in 2006, saying West is a good father to his three daughters. She said he worked at an excavation company for 11 years and is an avid outdoorsman who likes to fish and camp.

"Darren is such an awesome dad," she wrote.

Neighbors told the AP they were shocked and horrified by the accusations of what went on inside the home. None of them even knew Huntsman was pregnant in recent years.

The family members seemed like nice people and good neighbors, said Aaron and Kathie Hawker, who lives next door.

Huntsman moved out several years ago, leaving her three daughters to live alone, the Hawkers said. They weren't sure where Huntsman has since been living.

Years ago, Huntsman baby-sat the Hawker grandchildren and they were friendly with each other.

"It makes us so sad, we want to cry," Kathie Hawker said. "We enjoyed having them as a neighbor. This has just blown us away."

Aaron Hawker said he talked with West on Saturday morning. He told Hawker he was cleaning out the mess in the garage.

"Two hours later, suddenly we had all these policemen here," Aaron Hawker said.

Fred Newman, a neighbor whose cousin is the husband's mother, said he's perplexed how the three oldest daughters living there didn't know about what police say was going on. He said the girls didn't always park their cars in the garage, but did sometimes in the cold winter months.

He said he has used his snow-blower to clean off the driveway of the home and the young women would thank him.

The girls were normal youngsters, coming and going often, neighbor Vickie Nelson said.

"It's shocking and kind of morbid and strange," Nelson said as he looked across the street at the garage from her from lawn.

Roberts said the case has been "emotionally draining" and upsetting to investigators. He was at the home when the bodies were discovered.

"My personal reaction? Just shocked. Couldn't believe it. The other officers felt the same," the 19-year police veteran said.

"They got more and more shocked each box they opened," Roberts said.

___

Associated Press writer Michelle Price in Salt Lake City, Martin Griffith in Reno, Nev., and Annie Knox in Salt Lake City contributed to this report.

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whitney.kaub April 14 2014 at 3:47 PM

That's just horrible that you could kill a child like that and have no remorse. They didn't ask to be born.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
aevf101 April 14 2014 at 3:28 PM

wow!!!! 6 dead babies and a 6 million dollar bail, why not just no bail.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
carymel aevf101 April 14 2014 at 3:49 PM

'No bail' is reserved for flight risk

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1 reply
Chickiepoo carymel April 14 2014 at 4:11 PM

"Flight risk" is NOT the ONLY consideration that is used when determining whether to give
a defendant......."NO BAIL"........

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Chickiepoo aevf101 April 14 2014 at 4:05 PM

Having a 6 MILLION dollar bail.... "for all intents and purposes" ......is no different for her
than having "no bail"......

The chances are virtually NONE that she would be able to bond out with a $6M bond.

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1 reply
carymel Chickiepoo April 14 2014 at 5:10 PM

6 million $ bail is what the judge says to maintain his composure
instead of reaching out and smacking the defendant upside his or her head

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kimcrdr April 14 2014 at 3:25 PM

this things eyes look all jacked up in meth, she needs strangled and smothered!!!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
carymel kimcrdr April 14 2014 at 4:39 PM

Meth doesn't do that. Think of the Aurora, CO shooter or the Newtown, Ct
shooter, or dozens of other wild eyed people committing mayhem
All had that look

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crowkyong April 14 2014 at 9:56 PM

Give her the same as she gave the babies. Also look at the others around her.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
mamaava April 14 2014 at 3:24 PM

By the way....isn't there a law in that state that says you can leave an infant or child at a hospital and NO QUESTIONS ASKED????

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2 replies
gramargo mamaava April 14 2014 at 3:42 PM

There may be now, but I doubt it was in action when she did these crimes.

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Chickiepoo mamaava April 14 2014 at 4:29 PM

Utah's Safe Haven Law.....came into being in MAY 2001.

That would have helped with any of the babies born from May 2001 until she stopped
"birthing babies" in 2006.

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mamaava April 14 2014 at 3:23 PM

So, I suppose since the man who found the first one, (the husband who was just released from prison for 9 years) he didn't know his wife was pregnant? The daughters never noticed it either? Well, the article didn't say that the infants were full term, just that one was stillborn...STILL...NO ONE noticed??? Hummmm, WHY did she keep them in the garage?? Weird.

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1 reply
dbell724 mamaava April 14 2014 at 3:37 PM

Also, if the father was in jail that whole time, someone else must have gotten her pregnant so she most likely killed them and tried to hide it. But why in your garage in boxes???!!! Must have been the meth, causing her to do such a heinous thing. Such a tragic story.

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1 reply
Sonya dbell724 April 14 2014 at 3:44 PM

The husband didn't serve the full 9 years I believe it said he went to prison in 2006.. The time frame of these murders are from 1996 to 2006, so it's all too possible that he was the father to each baby.

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woodyandmarie1 April 14 2014 at 3:22 PM

You people are so mean the woman has to be mentaly ill as is any feamale who kills her own babies

Flag Reply +2 rate up
tinawbell April 14 2014 at 9:57 PM

There is so many couples that cant have kids that would be great parents. It makes me so sad people could me so cruel!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
brigg94795 April 14 2014 at 3:19 PM

O Dear lord those poor little babies!!!!!! We live in a MAD WORLD!! This is why I just don't care much for people!!!!!

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TruthBeKnown April 14 2014 at 10:00 PM

This is absolutely the worst crime I have ever heard of. A mother killing all of her kids as they are born.. This tops school shootings, 911, stabbings, flesh eatings and everything else.. a Mother killing her own babies so many of them.. oh my god she is sick ~!

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1 reply
aljoramaggio TruthBeKnown April 14 2014 at 10:43 PM

Don't know that she's sick.
She very cleverly hid the pregnancies - and at birth one was stillborn, and the other 6 were alive (thus being booked on 6, not 7 murders) , then put them in boxes in the garage - probably hard plastic ones.
Seems as if she knew what she did was wrong. That's not true of a psychotic individual.
Lime, obtained at any garden center, would cover the stench.
Somebody else in that household, HAD to know something was amiss.
The husband didn't go to jail, until sometime in 2006, when the killings ended.
There's more to this story than meets the eye.

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1 reply
ae12wrangell aljoramaggio April 14 2014 at 11:54 PM

Until Salt Lake City Hospital confirms that the 7th baby was stillborn, she will be charged for 6 counts of murder. IF SLCH does confirm the stillborn baby as murdeed, then it's 7 counts of Murder, which holds the death penalty.

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