Fox News reported yesterday that a Utah woman was arrested for having seven dead babies in her garage. The woman told investigators that she either strangled or suffocated six of the babies immediately after they were born and then put them inside boxes and stored the boxes in her garage. The seventh baby was not born alive, but it was stored like the other six.
According to police documents, Megan Huntsman, 39, said that between 1996 and 2006, she gave birth to at least seven babies at her home. The report stated that each baby was wrapped in either a towel or a shirt, and placed in a plastic bag.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that police were called to the house Saturday by Huntsman's ex-husband, who had discovered the body of a newborn infant who appeared to be at full term. Police obtained a search warrant for the house and discovered the bodies of six more babies packed in boxes in the garage. Huntsman was arrested on Sunday and put into the Utah County Jail with six counts of murder. On Monday morning, State Judge Steven Hansen set bail at $1 million for each child when Huntsman appeared via video in a Utah courtroom.
Police Capt. Michael Roberts said that investigators are still working on DNA tests, but Huntsman's ex-husband, identified by family and neighbors as Darren West, is believed to be the father of all seven children. West discovered the bodies while cleaning out the garage after recently getting out of jail on drug charges. Authorities do not believe West had any knowledge of the death of the babies.
The case has raised a series of questions about how the killings occurred despite Huntsman carrying out what neighbors seemed like a normal existence. Neighbors in the middle-class neighborhood said 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. Huntsman has one teenager daughter and two young adult daughters living in the house.
CBS News reported that the police are desperately seeking answers from the mother and other family members about how such a tragedy unfolded over a decade with no one noticing. Neighbors said 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 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.
Late Sunday, West's family issued a statement saying they were in a state of shock and confusion. The statement also read, "We are mourning this tragic loss of life and we are trying to stay strong and help each other through this awful event." The family is also asking for privacy.