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Utah Mom Accused Of Killing 6 Of Her Babies Charged With Murder

Megan Huntsman, accused of killing six of her babies and storing their bodies in her garage, appears in court on Monday in Provo, Utah. Prosecutors have filed six first-degree murder charges against her.
Rick Bowmer

A Utah woman accused of killing six babies during the course of a decade shortly after giving birth to them has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder.

Megan Huntsman, 39, was being held on $6 million bail. She is accused of killing the children between 1996 and 2006, and keeping their bodies in boxes in the garage. The Daily Herald in Provo, Utah, reports:

"She was arrested April 12 after her estranged husband, Darren West, discovered the body of one baby while cleaning out the garage of the home near 500 East and 200 North in Pleasant Grove. Police were called to the scene and found six more bodies.

"Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman said Monday that the Utah murder statute has changed since the crimes were committed, meaning they can't be filed as aggravated murder. He said Huntsman could face five years to life on each charge, the punishment that was in place for first-degree felonies from 1996 to 2006.

"Buhman said investigators have received a preliminary report from the state medical examiner, but said it will take time for DNA test results showing the babies' gender and father to come back.

"Police continue to say that they know what Huntsman's motive was for killing the infants, but they aren't ready to release that information to the public yet."

West had previously been in prison on drug-related charges. He is not considered a suspect in the killings.

The New York Times provides some recent background about Huntsman, noting that "[h]er marriage decayed into substance abuse and violence, she told people close to her. Her ailing father's suicide pitched her into despair and heavy drinking. Illness ravaged her family. She lost her job at a supermarket bakery and spent recent days alone at her boyfriend's trailer home." But The Associated Press reports that neighbors said Huntsman lived a seemingly "normal existence." She has three daughters — a teenager and two young adults — who also lived at the house.

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Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
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