published Monday, May 5th, 2014

Utah police seize furniture in dead newborns case

  • photo
    Megan Huntsman, accused of killing six of her babies and storing their bodies in her garage, appears in court in this April 28, 2014, in Provo, Utah.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

SALT LAKE CITY — Police have seized letters, documents and furniture belonging to a Utah woman accused of killing six of her newborns, according to court records made public Monday.

Several search warrant affidavits show police retrieved the items days after Megan Huntsman, 39, told investigators in mid-April that, over a decade, she had given birth to the babies at home and killed them soon after.

The items belonged to Huntsman but had been stored with her mother and grandfather, authorities said.

Among the items were letters between Huntsman and her estranged husband and a bed, chest of drawers and a desk that were in Huntsman's home during the time investigators believe the babies were killed in Pleasant Grove, south of Salt Lake City.

Authorities were still reviewing the documents and did not provide further details. They said the furniture seized did not produce any major evidence.

Pleasant Grove police Lt. Britt Smith said authorities later recovered a tablet device that they believe contains Huntsman's electronic diary, but he did not say where. He said forensic specialists are still going through the device.

"We're just doing a complete and thorough analysis of everything on there," he said.

Huntsman was charged last week with six counts of first-degree murder. She has not entered a plea.

Her attorney, Anthony Howell, declined to comment on the case Monday.

Similar court documents released Friday show Huntsman couldn't remember exactly how many dead infants were in her home, telling police the day she was arrested that there were eight or nine babies.

Police said they believe there were only the seven found in the garage, and Huntsman was confused.

During a search of the trailer she shared with her boyfriend in the Salt Lake City suburb of West Valley City, police also found Xanax, marijuana, bongs and a second diary, the documents said.

Police have said they cannot comment on whether those items were used by Huntsman because they are still investigating.

Huntsman's estranged husband, Darren West, found the first baby April 12 while cleaning out the garage of the home he had shared with Huntsman. He told police he found the baby in a small white box covered with electrician's tape.

The six other bodies were found after police obtained a search warrant for the home. Documents show they were all found wrapped in shirts or towels inside individual boxes in the garage.

During that search, authorities also reported finding bloody leather gloves in the garage, and infant booties and clothes in the master bedroom. Police took stained sections of a mattress in the master bedroom as evidence.

Huntsman later told officers that from 1996 to 2006, she strangled or suffocated six of the babies and packed them in boxes, separate court documents state. Huntsman said one infant found in the garage was stillborn.

Investigators say they know Huntsman's motive but have declined to discuss it publicly.

They believe West is the father of the babies. He lived with Huntsman during the decade the babies were killed and was in federal prison on drug charges from 2006 until January. Prosecutors said he is cooperating with the investigation and is not a suspect.

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