Warrant: Mom couldn’t recall number of dead babies
SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah woman accused of killing six of her newborns and storing them in her garage couldn’t recall exactly how many dead infants were in her home on the day she was arrested, according to documents made public Friday.
Megan Huntsman told police on April 12 that were eight or nine dead babies in her home south of Salt Lake City, the search warrant affidavit says.
Pleasant Grove Police Capt. Mike Roberts told The Associated Press they believe there were only the seven found in the garage, and that Huntsman was confused.
“She couldn’t remember the exact the number so she threw a ballpark figure out there,” Roberts said. “That was her guess.”
Huntsman’s comments came after police found Xanax, marijuana, bongs and a diary inside a trailer where she was living with her boyfriend in the Salt Lake City suburb of West Valley City. Roberts declined to say if that belonged to or was used by Huntsman, citing the open investigation.
He said that during her interview she appeared “perfectly normal.”
Huntsman, 39, has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder. She has not entered a plea.
Earlier in the day, police found the corpses of seven babies in the garage of Huntsman’s house in Pleasant Grove after her estranged husband found one baby in a small white box covered with electrician’s tape. He told police he discovered the baby in a plastic bag with a strong chemical odor emanating from it.
Roberts told the AP that they later determined that smell was just decomposition and not chemicals. Roberts said none of the bodies were covered in chemicals.
Police in Pleasant Grove discovered the six other dead babies after obtaining a search warrant for the house. They were in boxes throughout the garage, wrapped in shirts or towels, documents show.
During that search, authorities also reported finding bloody leather gloves and women’s underwear in the garage, and infant booties and clothes in the master bedroom. Police took stained sections of a mattress in the master bedroom as evidence.
In addition, suspect Megan Huntsman told police in a phone conversation on the day the first body was found by her husband that the baby was stillborn and she had been afraid to go to police or a hospital, the search warrant affidavit says,
She didn’t say why she was scared.
Huntsman later acknowledged that from 1996 to 2006, she strangled or suffocated six of the babies, put them in plastic bags and packed them inside boxes in the garage south of Salt Lake City, separate court document states.
Huntsman said one infant found in the garage was stillborn.
Investigators say they know Huntsman’s motive but declined to discuss it publicly.
During a brief court appearance Monday in Provo, the shackled Huntsman mostly kept her eyes focused downward as she was informed of the charges.
Defense attorney Doug Thompson told reporters afterward that he has spoken with Huntsman and she seemed fine, though he declined to provide details on her state of mind.
Investigators believe West is the father of the babies. He lived with Huntsman during the decade the babies were killed and was in federal prison on drug charges from 2006 until January. Prosecutors said he is cooperating with the investigation and is not a suspect.
Authorities are awaiting DNA testing to confirm Huntsman and West are the parents of the babies, and to determine the sex of the children. Their causes of death also remain uncertain.
The FBI has been brought in to help because no labs in Utah can analyze the type of DNA taken from the small corpses, police said.