US 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.
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 yesterday 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
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 reporters. 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 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.