Utah resident Megan Huntsman was arrested Sunday and charged with six counts of murder after seven babies were found dead in her former Pleasant Grove home. Huntsman was ordered held on $6 million bail — $1 million for each baby.
A reporter at KSTU said Huntsman was charged for only six out of the seven deaths because one baby was stillborn.
“They say, so far, their investigation has revealed to them that one of the births was a stillborn birth and, because of that, they are not going to seek a criminal charge for that one infant.”
Huntsman, 39, told police she either strangled or suffocated the babies immediately after they were born. She wrapped their bodies in a towel or a shirt, put them in plastic bags and then packed them inside boxes in the garage of her home south of Salt Lake City.
Police Captain Michael Roberts said Huntsman gave birth to the six babies she admitted killing between 1996 and 2006.
The Salt Lake Tribune said police responded to a call from Huntsman’s ex-husband, Darren West, on Saturday, after he discovered the first dead infant while cleaning out the garage of the house, which is owned by his parents. Police got a search warrant and found the other six infant bodies in separate containers, also in the garage. (Via The Salt Lake Tribune)
Reportedly, Huntsman moved out of the home in 2011, but her three daughters still live there. Investigators believe Huntsman is the mother of all the dead babies based on what she has told them but have ordered DNA tests to make sure that's the case. They don't know who the babies' fathers are. It could take weeks to get the results, Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman said.
Police said Huntsman is the only person being investigated for the murders, and neither her ex-husband nor her children are considered suspects at this time.
West was living in the house during the decade that authorities believe Huntsman killed the babies, police said.
West pleaded guilty in federal court in 2005 to two counts of possessing chemicals intended to be used in manufacturing methamphetamine, according to court records. In August 2006, he was sentenced to 9 years in prison, but appealed three times.
West was released from a federal prison in California in January and transferred to a halfway house in Salt Lake City, said Chris Burke, spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
During the Drug Enforcement Administration investigation in 2005, agents stopped by the house, spoke with Huntsman and looked around but it's unknown how extensive the search was.
As West maintained his innocence, Huntsman wrote a letter asking a federal judge to consider leniency at sentencing.
"Darren is a remarkable man, husband, brother, son, son-in-law, friend and father of our three beautiful daughters," she wrote, continuing, "Please we need this guy to keep our family together."
Neighbor Sharon Chipman said the couple married young, and Huntsman never worked except for a short stint at a grocery store.
Police said the three daughters have been interviewed, but investigators declined to discuss what they said.
"How can you have a baby and not have evidence and other people know?" asked neighbor SanDee Wall. "You can't plan when a baby is going to come. Just the thought of somebody putting a baby into a box is a heartbreaker."
Wall said she's puzzled about why Huntsman would have killed the babies, especially considering her youngest daughter, now a young teen, was born during the decade Huntsman told authorities she killed the other babies.
"Why was one of them saved?" Wall said.
AP contributed to this report.