Police give motive in dead baby case

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Police give motive in dead baby case
Megan Huntsman, accused of killing six of her babies and storing their bodies in her garage, appears in court Monday, April 28, 2014, in Provo, Utah. Prosecutors have filed six first-degree murder charges against Huntsman. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)
Megan Huntsman, accused of killing six of her babies and storing their bodies in her garage, appears in court Monday, April 21, 2014, in Provo, Utah. A state judge granted county prosecutors a week to sort through evidence and ensure they choose the proper charges. Huntsman is being held on $6 million bail. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)
Pleasant Grove Police investigate the scene where seven infant bodies were discovered and packaged in separate containers at a home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, Sunday, April 13, 2014. According to the Pleasant Grove Police Department, seven dead infants were found in the former home of Megan Huntsman, 39. Huntsman was booked into jail on six counts of murder. (APPhoto/Rick Bowmer)
This undated image originally released by the Utah Sex Offender Registry and obtained by The Associated Press from a public records database shows Darren West, the estranged husband of Megan Huntsman, the Utah woman accused of concealing seven pregnancies before strangling or suffocating her newborns. West discovered one of the infant corpses in the garage of the couple's former home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Police say West told them in his initial interview that he knew nothing about the pregnancies, but investigators are still trying to determine his knowledge or involvement. (AP Photo)
Megan Huntsman, accused of killing six of her babies and storing their bodies in her garage, appears in court Monday, April 21, 2014, in Provo, Utah. A state judge granted county prosecutors a week to sort through evidence and ensure they choose the proper charges. Huntsman is being held on $6 million bail. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)
Megan Huntsman, accused of killing six of her babies and storing their bodies in her garage, appears in court Monday, April 28, 2014, in Provo, Utah. Prosecutors have filed six first-degree murder charges against Huntsman. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)
Megan Huntsman, accused of killing six of her babies and storing their bodies in her garage, appears in court Monday, April 21, 2014, in Provo, Utah. A state judge granted county prosecutors a week to sort through evidence and ensure they choose the proper charges. Huntsman is being held on $6 million bail. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)
Megan Huntsman, accused of killing six of her babies and storing their bodies in her garage, appears in court Monday, April 21, 2014, in Provo, Utah. A state judge granted county prosecutors a week to sort through evidence and ensure they choose the proper charges. Huntsman is being held on $6 million bail. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)
This photo provided by the Utah County jail shows Megan Huntsman, who was booked into the Utah County jail on suspicion of killing six of her newborn children over the past decade. Seven dead babies were found in a garage at a Pleasant Grove home where Huntsman lived up until 2011. (AP Photo/Utah County Jail) Courtesy Utah County Jail
This photo released by the Utah County Jail shows the mugshot of Megan Huntsman, who was booked into the Utah County jail on suspicion of killing six of her newborn children over the past decade. Seven dead babies were found in a garage at a Pleasant Grove home where Huntsman lived up until 2011.(AP Photo/Utah County Jail)
Unidentified person walks through the front yard of the house where seven infant bodies were discovered and packaged in separate containers at a home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, Monday, April 14, 2014. 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. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Pleasant Grove Police investigate the scene where seven infant bodies were discovered and packaged in separate containers at a home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, Sunday, April 13, 2014. According to the Pleasant Grove Police Department, seven dead infants were found in the former home of Megan Huntsman, 39. Huntsman was booked into jail on six counts of murder. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Pleasant Grove Police investigate the scene where seven infant bodies were discovered and packaged in separate containers at a home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, Sunday, April 13, 2014. According to the Pleasant Grove Police Department, seven dead infants were found in the former home of Megan Huntsman, 39. Huntsman was booked into jail on six counts of murder. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Pleasant Grove Police investigate the scene where seven infant bodies were discovered and packaged in separate containers at a home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, Sunday, April 13, 2014. According to the Pleasant Grove Police Department, seven dead infants were found in the former home of Megan Huntsman, 39. Huntsman was booked into jail on six counts of murder. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Pleasant Grove Police investigate the scene where seven infant bodies were discovered and packaged in separate containers at a home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, Sunday, April 13, 2014. According to the Pleasant Grove Police Department, seven dead infants were found in the former home of Megan Huntsman, 39. Huntsman was booked into jail on six counts of murder. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Pleasant Grove Police investigate the scene where seven infant bodies were discovered and packaged in separate containers at a home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, Sunday, April 13, 2014. According to the Pleasant Grove Police Department, seven dead infants were found in the former home of Megan Huntsman, 39. Huntsman was booked into jail on six counts of murder. (APPhoto/Rick Bowmer)
Pleasant Grove Police investigate the scene where seven infant bodies were discovered and packaged in separate containers at a home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, Sunday, April 13, 2014. According to the Pleasant Grove Police Department, seven dead infants were found in the former home of Megan Huntsman, 39. Huntsman was booked into jail on six counts of murder. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Pleasant Grove Police investigate the scene where seven infant bodies were discovered and packaged in separate containers at a home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, Sunday, April 13, 2014. According to the Pleasant Grove Police Department, seven dead infants were found in the former home of Megan Huntsman, 39. Huntsman was booked into jail on six counts of murder. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Pleasant Grove Police investigate the scene where seven infant bodies were discovered and packaged in separate containers at a home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, Sunday, April 13, 2014. According to the Pleasant Grove Police Department, seven dead infants were found in the former home of Megan Huntsman, 39. Huntsman was booked into jail on six counts of murder. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Pleasant Grove Police investigate the scene where seven infant bodies were discovered and packaged in separate containers at a home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, Sunday, April 13, 2014. According to the Pleasant Grove Police Department, seven dead infants were found in the former home of Megan Huntsman, 39. Huntsman was booked into jail on six counts of murder. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Pleasant Grove Police investigate the scene where seven infant bodies were discovered and packaged in separate containers at a home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, Sunday, April 13, 2014. According to the Pleasant Grove Police Department, seven dead infants were found in the former home of Megan Huntsman, 39. Huntsman was booked into jail on six counts of murder. (APPhoto/Rick Bowmer)
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By Brady McCombs

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A Utah mother told authorities that she killed six of her newborns and stored their bodies in a garage because she was addicted to drugs and didn't want to deal with the responsibility of raising them, police said Tuesday, revealing a suspected motive for the first time.

Megan Huntsman, 39, was heavily into a meth addiction when she strangled or suffocated the infants from 1996 to 2006, Pleasant Grove Police Capt. Mike Roberts told The Associated Press.

She wasn't worried about potential health problems caused by her drug abuse while pregnant, she simply didn't want to care for them, he said. "It was completely selfish. She was high on drugs and didn't want the babies, or the responsibility," Roberts said. "That was her priority at the time."

Authorities think a seventh baby found in her Pleasant Grove garage after an April search was stillborn.

Police had previously declined to discuss a motive in the case, saying only that it had been uncovered during interviews with Huntsman.

Huntsman has been held in Utah County Jail since April 13, and her bail has been set at $6 million. She has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and is due in court in Provo on July 21. She has not yet entered a plea.

Her lawyer, public defender Anthony Howell, declined comment Tuesday, saying office policy prevents him from discussing open cases.

Huntsman's estranged husband, Darren West, spent more than eight years in federal prison after pleading guilty to meth charges. He was released to a halfway house in Salt Lake City in January.

West made the grisly discovery April 12 while cleaning out the garage of the home he had shared with Huntsman. He told police he found a dead infant in a small white box covered with electrician's tape.

Six other bodies were found after police obtained a search warrant. Documents show the newborns had been wrapped in shirts or towels inside individual boxes in the garage.

West lived with Huntsman during the decade their children were killed before going to federal prison in 2006, but he isn't a suspect in the deaths, Roberts said. Investigators don't know how he could have been oblivious to the pregnancies or deaths, but they don't plan to bring him in for further questioning.

Huntsman remains the only suspect in the investigation, which remains open, Roberts said. Results of a psychological examination of Huntsman haven't been disclosed.

DNA results revealed Tuesday showed that all seven babies were full term and that five were girls and two were boys. Those tests also confirmed that West was biological father of the infants.

Previous tests from the Utah state lab found that the babies were likely dead anywhere from two to 10 years or more, Roberts said.

The day of the grisly discovery, Huntsman told police that were eight or nine dead babies in her home, a previously released search warrant affidavit showed. But Roberts said Huntsman was confused and was taking a ballpark guess. Roberts said Tuesday investigators continue to believe there were only seven.

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