Police: Woman admits to strangling or suffocating six newborn babies


PLEASANT GROVE, Utah —  Pleasant Grove police arrested a woman Saturday who they said admitted to giving birth to at least seven babies, then strangling or suffocating six of them to death immediately after they were born.

Megan Huntsman, 39, faces six charges of first-degree felony murder in connection with the deaths, all of which allegedly occurred between 1996 and 2006 at her former residence in Pleasant Grove.

According to a probable cause statement, Huntsman told police she also gave birth to a stillborn baby at the home.

Click here to read the probable cause statement. [PDF, 135 KB]

Huntsman made these admissions after she had been read her Miranda rights, the statement said.

Police responded to the home Saturday after receiving a report from Darren West, Huntsman’s estranged husband, that he found a baby wrapped in a plastic garbage bag in the garage at the residence.

West reportedly contacted Huntsman to inquire about the baby and Huntsman told him the baby was stillborn in 2006.

“The baby was well preserved and appeared to be full term,” a Pleasant Grove officer wrote in a report.

West also contacted Pleasant Grove police, who obtained a search warrant for the home and discovered the six additional bodies. Each body was wrapped in a towel or shirt, placed inside a plastic bag and then placed in a separate cardboard box, the statement said.

On Monday morning, Huntsman appeared in court via closed-circuit television and a judge set her bail at $1 million for each count of murder she faces, for a total bail amount of $6 million.

Listen to the bond hearing below:

The bodies have been taken to the Utah State Office of the Medical Examiner, where doctors and forensic anthropologists can determine the sex of each child, the exact manner of death for each child and who fathered them.

Huntsman is due back in court on April 21.

Click here for more details.

19 comments

  • Trish Ramirez

    I’m going to make my stance on this one clear once again. This is a horrible tragedy. This woman should be punished to the fullest extent of the law for the terrible crimes she committed.

    That being said, it is awful that we live in a culture that she felt as though this was her only option, that she had no choice but to continue getting pregnant and murdering her children.

    All females of reproductive age should be factually educated about reproduction and have access to inexpensive birth control. They should not be indoctrinated from infancy to believe that their worth is somehow tied to their fertility. They shouldn’t feel as though they are going to be socially or culturally stigmatized if they choose to limit their child bearing.

    This was a terribly tragic situation, one that could have been prevented if there was a different attitude toward family planning locally, IMO.

    • Dvan

      Are you seriously making excuses for her?? Condoms are affordable! Make the guy buy them or just say no. She is supposed to be human. Not an animal!!

    • Lisa

      Ms. Ramirez,
      There is absolutely no issue with using birth control in the LDS Church. It is a very personal decision which is left entirely up to the husband and wife. It has nothing to do with what the neighbors think or how many kids are running around in the primary room in the church up the street.
      Additionally, there is no pressure from the LDS Church to have “a baby a year” as you stated above. How many children to have is also a personal decision between husband and wife. This has been stated again and again by LDS Church leaders.
      I have never been in any LDS church meeting where a woman’s worth was “tied to her uterus”. I am in my 40s and do not have any children, and I am as loved and supported and valued as any other woman.
      Please educate yourself on the facts before you spew any more hatred and falsehoods. This situation calls for love and compassion and forgiveness, not vicious, misinformed prejudice.

      • Meagan

        @lisa that was my thoughts exactly–I have been a life3long member with extreme fertility issues and yet I am loved and accepted.

        the pointt is, she is trying to make this political, but the truth is, ifyou want to talk about stigmas lets face the stigma that is real–mormons don’t judge you for using birth control but we really do judge those who murder….there is more of a stigma when it comes to strangling your baby then there is simiply using condoms. This isn’t a political issue to support government funded birth control like she wants us all to believe, infact this is a mental health issue, this is a ‘she pulled the wool over everyones eyes’ issue

    • Pedro

      News is already coming out that she had a history of drugs and alcoholism. Doesn’t really fit your narrative so you better just ignore that piece of info.

  • rachelle pickerell

    Her husband was in prison for drugs so maybe she wanted to kill the babies because she knew they where not his… No matter what her reason was she still killed six babies and would have been 7 if it was not sill born she knew what she was doing!!

    • mindy

      He actually wasn’t in jail during the time period they believe the babies were born and killed. He lived in the same house and they were still married. I definitely think there could have been some adultery going on but from what the story says, the babies could very well all be her husbands.

  • Stephanie

    I’m not saying she shouldn’t be in trouble but there are women out there that are pregnant that don’t want there babies and kill them at 20 weeks and that is perfectly fine, and people don’t ever put that on the news. This makes me so sad when I see things like this. I think it needs to be put out there more that you can take your baby to the cops or a hospital and they wont ask nothing, maybe the news needs to put that out there so maybe people wont take the babies innocent life.

  • Trish Ramirez

    The church has it’s official statement on birth control which states it is at the husband and wife’s discretion – and another statement which includes the word obligation. Not to mention the cultural pressure that women are under to provide earthly bodies for the little souls waiting to be born.

    “Interpretation of these general instructions is left to the agency of Church members. One of the basic teachings of the Church, however, is that spirit children of God come to earth to obtain a physical body, to grow, and to be tested. In that process, adults should marry and provide temporal bodies for those spirit children. For Latter-day Saints, it is a blessing, a joy, and also an obligation to bear children and to raise a family.”

  • Felix

    This woman is clearly humanity’s waste. Mentally deficient and morally inept. Why waste tax dollars keeping this psychopath in prison for the rest of her life. Take her out back, bullet in the head. The world’s a better place without her.

  • lisa

    Horrible!! There is NO WAY that her husband didn’t know about the babies!! How do you hide something like that for 9 months and then the smell in the garage?? Seriously no one used the garage?? she had other kids. I am guessing they were serious drugies, but still!! There is something fishy about this story and if the police don’t really see it, then something is wrong with them! Something like that had to be thought out and planned or at least afterwards for them to all be in a seperate box and all done the same way. Sounds like a serial killer or very distrubed people! But her husband had to know unless he was that strung out all the time. And where is Child Protective services as the other children had to be going thru abuse of some sort? No one entered the home and something smelled funny? I am curious what is revealed on this horrific story. I feel so sorry for the babies. I just lost a baby/had a miscarriage and almost died from it. I would have done anything to have my baby alive and healthy!! This just makes me so sad and angry that she actually got to give birth to her babies and could have raised them, but instead she killed them!! And I lost mine, and I wanted mine so bad!!! I hope she gets off the drugs and really feels the guilt of her sins and pays for everything she did to those poor innocent babies!!!

  • Bob

    No, Ms. Ramirez, there is absolutely no stigma and taboo attached to using condoms or other birth control in this community/culture. Zip, zero, nada, Society is not to blame for the personal decisions made by any individual.

    We refer to it as taking personal responsibility.for our own actions.

  • Trish Ramirez

    Do you people really not understand the stigma and taboo of using condoms or other birth control in this community/culture? Do you not understand how the weight of social/cultural expectations can mess with a person’s psychological welfare? Of course she is mentally ill, that goes without saying. You HAVE to be mentally ill to kill your own infant. But mental illness is not always organic. It doesn’t always begin from a person’s own brain malfunctioning or being chemically unbalanced. It can be caused by outside pressures and stresses as well. She has children that she was apparently a good mother to, that she loved. If you read comments on other sites (because this is a very popular story right now, there are lots of them) you will see she was well liked and well trusted with not just her own children, but with other people’s children as well.

    Is it so hard to believe that she simply did not want to produce a child a year as is the expectation of so many women around here, but that she was afraid to suggest using contraception because it is so frowned upon in the local culture? That she felt she had no alternative, because if she would have admitted to having these children surely her husband wouldn’t have wanted to place them for adoption. I mean, this IS Utah, we do allow women to steal children from their biological fathers and give them away to strangers if they so choose, but generally not if they are married and upstanding members of the local predominant religion.

    If her husband would have known about these pregnancies, I would imagine he would have expected her to keep these children, raise them like she did her other children, work (as it has been reported by many outlets and neighbors she was a long-time employee of the local grocery store) and be the perfect little wife and mommy.

    Sure, it would have been a better idea to use birth control, but what if she felt like she COULDN’T use birth control because she would be judged not just by her religious community but her husband and her deity? What if she believes, like most members of the local predominant faith, that she will be with these children again in the next life anyway?

    This is about indoctrination and brainwashing and expecting women to live up to a standard that many can’t.

    Utah is the anxiety and depression capital of the nation. Women around here pop Prozac like Tic Tacs, and there is a cultural reason for that. I have said before and I will say again that this woman needs to be held accountable for her crimes. You can’t just murder infants. But someone needs to recognize that there is something wrong with a culture and society that would allow for this to happen in the first place. You have to recognize that her actions and the rates of depression and anxiety and methamphetamine use among women in this area are two sides of the same coin.

    Women deserve honest, factual, SCIENCE based information about reproduction, contraception and family planning from the time they are able to reproduce. This is 2014. Women shouldn’t be indoctrinated into believing that their worth is tied to their uterus, that they have to reproduce over and over and over again to be of value or that they will be socially/culturally ostracized for using family planning methods to ensure that they aren’t left with more on their plate than they can realistically handle.

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