Megan Huntsman, the 39-year-old Utah mother of three that admitted to killing and storing her dead infants in cardboard boxes in a garage, made her court appearance this week. Huntsman appeared Monday in a Provo, Utah court, shackled and looking distraught. She has been jailed for 10 days in lieu of a $6 million bond.
According to a report from The Associated Press on April 21, Huntsman was arrested on April 12 after her estranged husband, recently released from prison, found the decomposed bodies of seven infant children in a garage. All seven of the bodies were stuffed in cardboard boxes and found stored away. Huntsman later admitted to killing six of the children, with the seventh being stillborn.
Huntsman gave birth to the children during a 10-year period from 1996 to 2006. The estranged husband, identified as Darren West, was cleaning out a garage where Huntsman’s three older children lived – one teenager and two adults. Pleasant Grove Police Capt. Michael Roberts said West had been recently released from prison on drug-related charges, but that he and Huntsman were living together at the time of the births. It’s unclear yet if West is the father of any or all of the infants, who all appeared to be newborns. Investigators do not believe that West was aware of any of the murders and as of yet, he is not considered a “person of interest.”
Prosecutors were granted more time to sift through evidence and determine what charges will be brought against Huntsman. Last week, state medical examiners performed autopsies on all of the bodies; prosecutors are awaiting those results to determine causes of death and if any additional charges may apply. DNA samples were taken from both Huntsman and West to determine if they are indeed the parents of all seven children; those results are still pending.
“We want to make sure we don't file erroneously,” Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman said. “The closer we can get to the truth of what happened, the better decisions we can make.” Buhman said Huntsman remains the only suspect. Prosecutors said West lived with Huntsman, but that he was in federal prison on drug charges from 2006 until January of this year.
The AP report says “authorities have said they think they know Huntsman's motive, but they have declined to reveal it publicly.” Huntsman tucked each of the tiny bodies in cardboard boxes after wrapping the corpses in plastic bags. According to investigators, she admitted to “strangling or suffocating” each one of them.
CBS News reports Megan Huntsman is also suspected of hiding the pregnancies of not just her dead children, but two of her three living daughters, said Roberts to the Deseret News. Huntsman has a 13-year-old daughter, and two adult daughters as well living in the home where the infants were found. The eldest girls are thought to be 18 to 20 years old. Roberts said Huntsman never saw a doctor during any of her 10 pregnancies.
“I was told she hid the first two. The family didn't know about it until the day she delivered,” Roberts said. Investigators say it’s unclear how West, the alleged father, had no knowledge of the pregnancies. “We don't believe he had any knowledge of the situation,” Roberts said. When asked how it was that he could not have known about the births and murders, Roberts replied: “That's the million-dollar question. Amazing.”
Reports NewsMax: “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. What's shocking is the three older ones living there and not noticing that their mother was pregnant.”