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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.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
rjen164497 April 14 2014 at 6:45 PM

Anyone who kills a baby, if it is outside the womb or inside is guilty of murder.

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2 replies
wlh1923 rjen164497 April 14 2014 at 6:59 PM

Stop on topic azzole. Inside the womb is legal. You lost that fight. Don't be a troll.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
rjen164497 wlh1923 April 14 2014 at 7:13 PM

Who is the AZZHOLE? You sure sound like one if you can't see they are the same. What is the difference. If you know your parents , ask them why they didn't abort you. Piece of crap.

Flag +1 rate up
weakmindedgod rjen164497 April 14 2014 at 7:49 PM

Moses was ordered by god to do it, is moses guilty of murder?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
aljoramaggio weakmindedgod April 14 2014 at 8:04 PM

When and where was Moses ordered by God to commit murder?

Flag +1 rate up
Sue April 14 2014 at 5:15 PM

Did it accure to anyone that maybe the mother wasn't the one having all those baby's? Maybe she is taking the rap for her daughters. She plead guilty fast.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
Viper1ex19 Sue April 14 2014 at 5:30 PM

Its too easy for them to believe everything the media says without waiting for the outcome of the investigation.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
dali456 April 14 2014 at 5:13 PM

This monster must hang

Flag Reply +2 rate up
minus99 April 14 2014 at 5:09 PM

I resign World.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
manfrombighorn April 14 2014 at 5:09 PM

Look at this feminist staring at the camera like a deer staring at the headlights. CREEPY!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
3 replies
Lilli April 14 2014 at 5:04 PM

I can see someone not knowing about 1 pregnacy, but 6?? How does that happen? She had children living with her, so someone please explain how 6 unknown pregnancies can happen, and why keep having them? I mean after you've killed the 1st one, wouldn't you rather take some type of precaution to not have it happen again? If all of these were her children, this woman is really, really sick.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
2 replies
SUNFLOWERgirl Lilli April 14 2014 at 5:15 PM

Women do that each day to the tune of 4000 babies per day. Each day in America, 4000 women get abortions, and they kill their unborn babies. And many of them don't learn their lessons. They KEEP having unprotected sex, and keep getting pregnant, using abortion as birth control. You would THINK they would get a clue.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
no1gum Lilli April 14 2014 at 5:16 PM

There was a well-known case of a woman who had a lot of babies who died, well over 7, maybe up to 20, but she and her husband moved every few years. The deaths were usually attributed to SIDS. They didn't hide the pregnancies or deaths. They were caught because someone became suspicious and authorities finally looked back and found the other deaths. Also, one of the children was adopted. Infanticide is a lot more common than anyone would like to think.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
tashahamilton@me.com April 14 2014 at 5:04 PM

Its possible to live with people and hide your pregnancies. Its not that uncommon. Don't blame the daughters for the mother's crimes. Its stupid to think that they would know anything about being pregnant. Just because your female does not mean you know. You would however think to find the smell coming from their garage. Don't blame the daughters. They are just as much a victim now as the babies. Their whole lives have changed and how would you ever be able to face your parent again knowing what they did?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
Bill tashahamilton@me.com April 14 2014 at 6:20 PM

I think the neighbors said they all parked in the driveway. The garage was a mess. But still...

Flag Reply +1 rate up
CREEPER April 14 2014 at 5:03 PM

Kill Her. then throw Her into the Closest Dumpster you can Find

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Leslee April 14 2014 at 5:03 PM

OK...she admits to killing them, but will DNA show she is the mother? If she is...BANG!...next.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
Double Leslee April 14 2014 at 5:29 PM

I agree but believe she should be choked then brought back, sufficated then brought back seven times like she did to those babies shooting her is just an easy way out she should suffer eye of and eye!!!!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
MIKE HALL Double April 14 2014 at 5:54 PM

and what should happen to an abortion doctor?

Flag +1 rate up
ninjadrvr April 14 2014 at 4:46 PM

Another one with a mug shot that will come back to haunt her.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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