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Motive unclear in Utah mother’s killing of 6 babies

Megan Huntsman of Utah is held on $6 million bail.

Megan Huntsman of Utah is held on $6 million bail.

PLEASANT GROVE, Utah — Megan Huntsman, 39, told police she either strangled or suffocated six of her newborn babies immediately after they were born, authorities said.

She said she wrapped their bodies in a towel or a shirt, put them in plastic bags, and packed them inside boxes in the garage of her home south of Salt Lake City, they said.

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What is not clear is why. A day after her arrest on charges of killing the six babies, investigators and her neighbors puzzled over the grisly discovery, including how she could have concealed a half-dozen pregnancies over 10 years. ‘‘How can you have a baby and not have evidence and other people know?’’ asked neighbor SanDee Wall.

Huntsman, who was arrested Sunday on six counts of murder, was ordered held on $6 million bail — $1 million for each baby. The remains of a seventh baby police found appears to have been stillborn, authorities said.

According to a probable cause statement released by police Monday, Huntsman said she gave birth to at least seven babies between 1996 and 2006 at her former home in Pleasant Grove.

All but one of them was born alive, she said.

Her estranged husband, Darren West, discovered one of the bodies Saturday morning while cleaning out the garage of the house, which is owned by his parents. He called Huntsman, who admitted to him it was her baby, according to court documents.

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