Utah woman charged with killing seven babies


The house where seven babies were discovered stuffed into cardboard boxes. Photo: AP/Deseret News, Jeffrey Allred

Pleasant Grove, Utah: A Utah woman accused of killing seven babies she gave birth to over 10 years was arrested after police discovered the tiny bodies stuffed in separate cardboard boxes in the garage of her former home.

Megan Huntsman, 39, who lived in the Pleasant Grove home until three years ago, had the infants between 1996 and 2006, US investigators said.

Neighbours in the middle-class neighbourhood of mostly older homes about 55 kilometres south of Salt Lake City 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.

The garage where the bodies were found. Photo: AP

Officers responded to a call on Saturday from Ms Huntsman's estranged husband about a dead infant at the home, police Captain Michael Roberts said. Officers then discovered the six other bodies.

Captain Roberts declined to comment on a motive or what Ms Huntsman said during an interview with investigators. He said it wasn't clear if she had an attorney. Ms Huntsman was booked into the Utah County Jail on six counts of murder.

Captain Roberts said the estranged husband lived with Ms Huntsman when the babies were born but was not a person of interest at this time. The man's name was not immediately released.

"We don't believe he had any knowledge of the situation," Captain Roberts said.

Megan Huntsman was booked into the Utah Country Jail on six counts of murder. Photo: Reuters


Asked how the man could not have known if he lived in the house, Captain Roberts 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 definitively whether the two were the parents as investigators believe.

Police said the husband was cleaning out the garage when he made the grisly discovery at the house owned by his parents.

Neighbours said they were shocked and horrified by the accusations of what went on inside. None of them even knew Ms Huntsman was pregnant in recent years.

The family members seemed like nice people and good neighbours, said Aaron and Kathie Hawker, who live next door.

Ms Huntsman moved out several years ago, leaving her three daughters, one teenager and two young adults, to live alone, the Hawkers said.

Years ago, Ms Huntsman had babysat the Hawker grandchildren and they were friendly with each other.

"It makes us so sad, we want to cry," Kathie Hawker said. "We enjoyed having them as a neighbour. This has just blown us away."

Aaron Hawker said he talked with the estranged husband on Saturday morning. He told Mr Hawker he was cleaning out the mess in the garage.

"Two hours later, suddenly we had all these policemen here," Mr Hawker said.

Fred Newman, a neighbour whose cousin is the estranged husband's mother, said he was perplexed how the three oldest daughters living there didn't know about what police say was going on.

"What's shocking is the three older ones living there and not noticing that their mother was pregnant," Mr Newman said.

"It's shocking and kind of morbid and strange," neighbour Vickie Nelson said as she looked across the street at the garage from her lawn.