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Mom accused of killing 6 newborns held on $6 million bond

Shocked neighbors, police still have many questions about 'heinous' case

Published: Monday, April 14 2014 4:15 p.m. MDT

Authorities discovered seven dead babies in this Pleasant Grove home over the weekend.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

PLEASANT GROVE — When Megan Huntsman was asked to accompany investigators to the police station Sunday to answer questions, she seemed to know she wasn't coming back.

"She had told (her boyfriend) that something had happened and she was going to jail," neighbor Josh Flowers said. "They said she was upset. She said, 'I love you and I'm going to jail,' and walked out."

Flowers was one of the many people on Monday who used the word "shocked" to describe the unsettling discovery made by Huntsman's estranged husband and Pleasant Grove police over the weekend.

The bodies of seven infants — six of them allegedly killed immediately after birth — were found in the garage of Huntsman's old home, 536 W. 200 North in Pleasant Grove.

"Each baby was found wrapped in either a towel or a shirt, placed inside of a plastic bag, and each was contained in a separate cardboard box," a police affidavit filed in Provo's 4th District Court states. "Ms. Huntsman admitted that between 1996 and 2006, she gave birth to at least seven babies at the Pleasant Grove residence, and that all of the babies, but one, were born alive, and that she either strangled or suffocated the babies immediately after they were born."

Huntsman told investigators she gave birth to the stillborn infant in 2006. "The baby was well preserved and appeared to be full term," the affidavit states.

No criminal charges have yet been filed against Huntsman, 39. She was booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of six counts of murder. Prosecutors requested in court Monday that she remain in jail in lieu of $6 million bail — or $1 million for each of the six babies she's accused of killing.

"She was arrested because she is a flight risk and this is a heinous, horrible crime," Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman said after the hearing.

Huntsman is under special watch at the jail as a precaution to prevent her from potentially harming herself, Pleasant Grove Police Chief Mike Smith said.

During her brief bail hearing Monday, Huntsman — appearing via video from the jail — seemed distant and didn't attempt to argue her bail.

"That's fine," she told the judge.

Huntsman also told the judge she has lived in Utah all her life and has no prior criminal history.

Buhman said he hoped to file formal charges by her next scheduled court hearing in a week. However, there are still many questions that needed to be answered.

The Utah State Medical Examiner's Office was conducting tests on the infants in an attempt to confirm the causes of death of each as well as who the fathers are. Other questions detectives were still investigating on Monday include how Huntsman was allegedly able to conceal her pregnancies, births and the discarded bodies, and whether anyone else could have potentially known what was going on.

"I've never seen anything like this in my career," said Pleasant Grove police detective Dan Beckstrom, who arrested Huntsman over the weekend. "This isn't something we ever expect to have to deal with."

Smith also could not say if any of the infants had anything in common, such as whether they were all of the same sex. He said her estranged husband could potentially be the father of the deceased infants.

"The timeline works out that he could possibly be the father, and that's something we'll continue to investigate," he said.

Investigators believe Huntsman was telling the truth when she allegedly admitted giving birth to all seven infants.

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