Megan Huntsman arrested after bodies of seven babies are found in Utah house

Officers responded to a call on Saturday from Huntsman's estranged husband about a dead infant at the home. Officers then discovered the six other bodies

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The Independent US

A Utah woman has been arrested on suspicion of killing six babies after police found seven tiny bodies stuffed in cardboard boxes in the garage of her former home.

Megan Huntsman, 39, gave birth to the babies over a decade between 1996 and 2006, investigators said.

She had lived in the home in Pleasant Grove, where the grim discovery was made, until three years ago.

Police were called to the house on Saturday after they received a call from Huntsman's estranged husband about a dead infant at the home. Upon arrival they discovered six other bodies - one of the babies was believed to be stillborn, police said. 

Police captain Michael Roberts declined to comment on a motive and what Huntsman said during an interview with investigators.

Neighbours in the middle-class neighbourhood expressed their shock at the accusations and were perplexed that the woman's older children, who are still living at home, did not know their mother was pregnant or notice anything suspicious.

Officers said they believe Huntsman and her estranged husband were together when the babies were born, but that he is not a person of interest at this time.

"We don't believe he had any knowledge of the situation," Capt Roberts said.

Asked how the man could not have known, he replied: "That's the million-dollar question. Amazing."

The babies' bodies were sent to the Utah medical examiner's office for test, including one to determine the cause of death. DNA samples were also taken from the suspect and her estranged husband and will be used to determine whether the two are parents, as investigators believe.

Huntsman was booked into Utah County Jail on six counts of murder.

The house is owned by the husband's parents and the man was cleaning out the garage when he uncovered the bodies.

Family and neighbours identified the estranged husband as Darren West, a convicted criminal who has been in prison.

His family released a statement saying it was in a "state of shock and confusion" and was mourning "this tragic loss of life".

Court records show West pleaded guilty in federal court in 2005 to two counts of possessing chemicals intended to be used in manufacturing methamphetamine. In 2006, he was sentenced to nine years in prison. It is unclear when he was released.

Huntsman's three daughters still live in the home, long-time neighbour Sharon Chipman told The Salt Lake Tribune. The oldest were about 18 to 20 years old, while the youngest was about 13, she said.

Huntsman was a great neighbour and Ms Chipman trusted her to watch her grandson when he was a toddler, she added.

"She took good care of him. She was good. This really shocks me," Ms Chipman told The Tribune.

Capt Roberts said the case had been "emotionally draining" and upsetting to investigators. He was at the home when the bodies were discovered.

"My personal reaction? Just shocked. Couldn't believe it. The other officers felt the same," he said.

"They got more and more shocked each box they opened."

Additional reporting by Press Association