Mother blames drug addiction for killing newborns

Megan Huntsman, who was booked into the Utah County jail on suspicion of killing six of her newborn children over the past decade. Photo / AFP
Megan Huntsman, who was booked into the Utah County jail on suspicion of killing six of her newborn children over the past decade. Photo / AFP

A US mother told authorities that she killed six of her newborns and stored their bodies in a garage because she was addicted to drugs and didn't want to deal with the responsibility of raising them, police said Tuesday, revealing a suspected motive for the first time.

Megan Huntsman, 39, was heavily into a meth addiction when she strangled or suffocated the infants from 1996 to 2006, Pleasant Grove Police Capt. Mike Roberts told The Associated Press.

She wasn't worried about potential health problems caused by her drug abuse while pregnant, she simply didn't want to care for them, he said. "It was completely selfish. She was high on drugs and didn't want the babies, or the responsibility," Roberts said.

Authorities think a seventh baby found in her Utah garage after an April search was stillborn.

Police had previously declined to discuss a motive in the case.

Huntsman has been held in jail since April, and her bail has been set at $6 million. She has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and is due in court on July 21. She has not yet entered a plea.

Her lawyer, public defender Anthony Howell, declined comment Tuesday, saying office policy prevents him from discussing open cases.

Huntsman's estranged husband, Darren West, spent more than eight years in federal prison after pleading guilty to meth charges.

West made the grisly discovery in April while cleaning out the garage of the home he had shared with Huntsman. He told police he found a dead infant in a small white box covered with electrician's tape.

Six other bodies were found after police obtained a search warrant. Documents show the newborns had been wrapped in shirts or towels inside individual boxes in the garage.

West lived with Huntsman during the decade their children were killed before going to federal prison in 2006, but he isn't a suspect in the deaths, Roberts said.

Huntsman remains the only suspect in the investigation, which remains open, Roberts said. Results of a psychological examination of Huntsman haven't been disclosed.

DNA results revealed Tuesday showed that all seven babies were full term and that five were girls and two were boys. Those tests also confirmed that West was biological father of the infants.

-AP

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