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Woman held after 7 babies’ bodies found in boxes

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  • by MARGARET NEIGHBOUR
 

A WOMAN accused of killing seven babies she gave birth to over a decade has been arrested after police found the bodies stuffed in cardboard boxes in the garage of her former home.

Megan Huntsman, 39, who lived at the house in Pleasant Grove, Utah, until three years ago, had the babies between 1996 and 2006, investigators said.

Officers responded to a call on Saturday from Mrs Huntsman’s estranged husband about a dead infant at the home. They discovered the six other bodies in the garage.

Police captain Michael Roberts declined to comment on a motive and refused to reveal what Mrs Huntsman had said during an ­interview.

Neighbours in the middle-class neighbourhood said they were shocked by the accusations and perplexed that the woman’s older children, who were still living in the house, did not know their mother was pregnant or notice anything ­suspicious.

Police believe the estranged husband and Mrs Huntsman were together when the babies were born.

Mr Roberts said: “We don’t believe he had any knowledge of the situation.”

Asked how the man could not have known, he 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 whether the two are the parents, as investigators ­believe.

Mrs Huntsman is being held in Utah County Jail on six counts of murder. Police believe one of the seven babies was stillborn.

The house where they lived is owned by the husband’s parents, and the man was cleaning out the garage when he made the grisly discovery.

Family and neighbours identified the estranged husband as Darren West, a convicted criminal who has spent time in prison. His family released a statement saying they were in a “state of shock and confusion” and mourning “this tragic loss of life”.

Court records show Mr West pleaded guilty in federal court in 2005 to two counts of possessing chemicals intended to be used in manufacturing methamphetamine. In 2006, he was sentenced to nine years in prison and officials have refused to reveal when he was released.

Mrs Huntsman’s three daughters still live at the house. Long-time neighbour Sharon Chipman told a local newspaper that the oldest were about 18 to 20 years old, while the youngest was around 13.

She added that Mrs Huntsman was a great neighbour and Ms Chipman trusted her to watch her grandson when he was a toddler.

“She took good care of him. She was good. This really shocks me,” she said.

Mr Roberts said the case had been “emotionally draining” and upsetting to investigators. He was at the house when the ­bodies were discovered.

He added: “My personal reaction? Just shocked. Couldn’t believe it. The other officers felt the same. They got more and more shocked each box they opened.”

Fred Newaman, another neighbour, said: “It is shocking and kind of morbid and strange.” He added that he saw police at the scene and watched on as they “got more and more shocked as they opened more boxes”.

 
 
 

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