Megan Huntsman, 39, was charged in April with first-degree murder
in the deaths of the six newborns who police say she has admitted to
strangling or suffocating just after their births between 1996 and
2006 in a rare case of serial infanticide.
The infants' remains were found wrapped in old towels, shirts and
plastic bags and stuffed inside cardboard boxes in the garage of
Huntsman's former home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, a suburb just north
The body of a seventh infant was found disposed of in the same way,
but authorities say that child was stillborn.
Police have said Huntsman secretly gave birth to all seven babies
without medical assistance at home, after apparently managing to
conceal her pregnancies from the outside world.
Hunstman, who remains jailed in lieu of $6 million bond, has yet to
enter a plea. She has undergone a court-ordered evaluation to
determine whether she is competent to stand trial, and a hearing on
that issue is set for July 21.
Authorities previously have said Huntsman had explained her
rationale for the killings to police when she confessed. But the
alleged motive was not disclosed until Tuesday, when police also
released the results of DNA tests confirming she was the slain
infants' biological mother.
Pleasant Grove police Captain Mike Roberts said the woman had told
detectives that she was hooked on methamphetamine and alcohol at the
time, and did not feel she could sustain her addictions while caring
for the children.
"When it came to money, it was either drugs or the babies. She made
the decision," Roberts told Reuters.
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DNA tests also confirmed that Huntsman's estranged husband, Darren
West, whose discovery of one of the tiny bodies triggered the
investigation, was the father of all seven babies - two boys and
five girls, Roberts said.
Neither West nor any of Huntsman's three surviving daughters - aged
14, 18 and 20 as of April - is a suspect in the case. Those three
daughters continued to live at the Pleasant Grove address, with
other relatives, after their mother left to move into a boyfriend's
home in 2011.
At least one of the three, the youngest, was born during the period
in which her sibling infants were slain. But authorities have
offered no explanation for why she, too, was not killed.
(Reporting by Peg McEntee in Salt Lake City; Writing by Steve
Gorman; Editing by Stephen Coates)
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