Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

Utah mom accused of killing 6 babies given attorney

Prosecutors say, “There is a lot of evidence that is being gathered as we speak”; judge grants them one more week.

First Published Apr 21 2014 09:07 am • Last Updated Jul 08 2014 05:35 pm

Provo • Criminal charges against a woman accused of killing six of her babies likely won’t be filed until her court appearance next week.

Megan Huntsman’s estranged husband found the body of a dead infant in their Pleasant Grove garage on April 12. Police later discovered six more, all wrapped in plastic bags and tucked into cardboard boxes.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Huntsman, 39, subsequently admitted to suffocating or strangling six of the infants immediately after giving birth between 1996 and 2006, according to an arrest affidavit. The seventh child is believed to have been stillborn.

Huntsman made a brief appearance Monday in Provo’s 4th District Court, where she was appointed a public defender, and Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman asked a judge for more time to file formal charges.

"There is a lot of evidence that is being gathered as we speak," Buhman told the judge. "The medical examiner has completed initial autopsies, but we don’t expect the reports for a while."

Buhman asked the judge for a two-week continuance, but attorney Taylor Hartley, on behalf of the public defender’s office, told the judge that Huntsman felt two weeks was too long.

Judge Claudia Laycock gave prosecutors one more week to prepare.

Huntsman, who appeared in court among other inmates shackled and wearing a green and orange jumpsuit, said little during her appearance. She told the judge she had no income or savings and had not worked since December 2012.

The woman, who is being held at the Utah County jail in lieu of $6 million bail, will be back in court April 28.

Buhman said outside of court that prosecutors needed the extra time to ensure they filed the correct charges to fit the alleged crimes.


story continues below
story continues below

"We want to be careful," he said. "We want to file the right charge, with the right [offense] dates. We want to make sure we don’t file anything erroneously."

Though the autopsies are complete, authorities are remaining tight-lipped about what the examinations revealed, or whether cause of death or the babies’ genders could be determined.

Pleasant Grove police Detective Dan Beckstrom said Monday that Huntsman has been cooperative with police, but he would not discuss whether she has told them any motive behind the alleged killings.

"We are not prepared to talk about that yet," he said.

Police have taken DNA samples from Huntsman and her now-estranged husband, 41-year-old Darren Brad West, to determine if they are the parents of the infants, as officers suspect.

Police do not consider West a suspect or person of interest in the children’s death, though he is believed to have fathered all of the infants. In his initial statement to the police, West claimed he did not know about any of the pregnancies, according to authorities.

In 2006, West went to prison on drug convictions and is currently living at a Salt Lake County halfway house.

Pleasant Grove Police Capt. Michael Roberts has said investigators have determined that Huntsman did not go to a hospital to have the seven babies in question, all of which appeared to be full term.

But the captain could not comment as to how Huntsman, described in jail records as 5-foot-4 and 105 pounds, could have concealed so many pregnancies. But Roberts did note that no one knew the woman was pregnant with her two eldest daughters — who are now 20 and 18 — until she gave birth to them at a hospital. Huntsman also has a 14-year-old daughter.

One of Huntsman’s longtime Pleasant Grove neighbors has said she had noticed Huntsman go through some weight fluctuations through the years, but never thought she was pregnant.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.