It’s so unbelievable when a mother kills her own babies for no reason that it seems surreal when we come across such cases. Strangely, I actually believed that Munchausen Syndrome, which is extremely rare to begin with, was fading out of human behaviour. Perhaps out of sight out of mind, which is certainly the case in this macabre tale. It may have faded from our collective consciousness but for people like Megan Huntsman, 39, from Utah, murder is a way of life. During a decade of birthing infants from 1996 to 2006, Megan systematically gave birth to, then killed, six beautiful infants through strangulation or suffocation. She says she had seven babies but one was stillborn. Just as well. We know it wouldn’t have lived either. Isn’t it ironic that Utah has the largest settlement of those “religious” Mormons who are so devoted to God? Not to mention Utah is the largest welfare state in the USA due to so many polygamous families sect that forces daughters, half-sisters and nieces to marry men old enough to be their fathers (or are in fact their stepfathers) and thereby become part of a posse that would make the sister wives on Sister Wives envious. Perhaps Huntsman wished to compete then changed her mind upon birthing her children.
After the infants were discovered investigators had to determine if the seven babies had the same father ( Darren West), or if Megan was a baby-mama. The gruesome case has raised a series of questions about how the killings occurred despite this woman carrying out what neighbours said seemed like a normal existence. The thing is, how did a woman carry to term seven babies, have seven pregnancies, then not be pregnant, and for her to not have seven children? Didn’t the neighbours ever scratch their heads over the disappearing infants as one of those things that make you go “hmmmmm?” It’s the same thing with other serial killers. Neighbours are the last to know. They always say incredibly gullible things like “he was the nicest guy.” Just so long as you didn’t forget to return the hedge clippers. “It makes us so sad, we want to cry,” said neighbour Kathie Hawker, who years ago used to have Ms Huntsman babysit her own children. She must be wiping away beads of sweat right about now. “We enjoyed having them as a neighbour. This has just blown us away.” Perfect example of my aforementioned theory.
Aaron and Kathy Hawker noticed the family cleaning out their garage (and their closet) on that fateful morning. A mess of junk including an old sled, plastic buckets, wrought iron headboards, blue tarp, an old lawn mower and other debris was scattered on the property, (along with one or two stillborns probably). By noon a swarm of police cars lined up along the street in front of the house. They installed yellow caution tape along the property. The Hawkers believed they were “quite close to the family” and “were shocked” about the findings. Obviously, the Hawkers and the Wests weren’t too close. Tellingly, Aaron Hawker stated, “she always looked slim so it’s like, where are these babies?” (in boxes). Another neighbour, Sharon Chipman, told The Salt Lake Tribune she had seen Huntsman gaining and losing weight over the years but never thought that Huntsman might be pregnant.That no one, including the three daughters living in the house with their mother at the time, knew she was pregnant seven times without any babies ever materializing remained a riddle, police acknowledged. But most perplexing was the notion that Mr West would have remained unaware. “That’s the million-dollar question,” Captain Michael Roberts, of the Pleasant Grove Police Department said.
Huntsman was taken into custody on Sunday April 13, 2014, after police found seven dead infants in her garage. It is believed she gave birth to the victims between 1996 and 2006. She was charged with murdering six of them. At first it was unclear why there was no seventh charge but a coroner confirmed the seventh infant had died of natural causes. It was Huntsman’s estranged husband who telephoned police to say he had been sorting through belongings in the garage when he came across a box with a pungent odour and when he opened it, discovered the body of one baby. When officers arrived, they found the six other corpses, all babies apparently delivered at full term, stuffed individually into boxes. “My personal reaction? Just shocked. Couldn’t believe it. The other officers felt the same. They got more and more shocked each box they opened,” said Captain Roberts.
While at the time of the discovery, Huntsman was no longer living in the house, it was still occupied by three of her daughters, who somehow had made it past birth: one aged about 13 and the other two between 18 and 20 years old. The home is owned by the parents of her husband, West, who had come to sort out the garage because he was planning to move back in. Police said they believed West was the father of the dead babies . While he and the three daughters were all questioned, none of them faced charges at that time. I should hope the daughters wouldn’t face charges. They were little children themselves when the murders were taking place and could hardly be expected to report their mother to police. As of their current ages, had any of the three girls known about the babies (and there is the possibility that this is the case) they would have been so traumatized as to be in denial that their own mother could commit such crimes. Not to mention the danger the girls could themselves have been in had they betrayed their mother.
Speaking of which, oddly enough, when Huntsman was pregnant with her two oldest daughters, no one, including West, knew about it. Huntsman didn’t tell anyone until she went into labour and had to be brought to the hospital. ‘So, she apparently knows how to do it,’ Roberts said. It would seem so except during 1996 – 2006, Huntsman gave birth at home. It is believed she did so at home without help from her family members. If Huntsman’s timeline is accurate, that would mean West was living with Huntsman during the time of the births How she could have hidden herself somewhere in the house and remained quiet during labour is beyond my understanding. People are capable of all sorts of bizarre things. Mr West however wasn’t the seemliest of characters. He was convicted in 2006 of possessing chemicals to make methamphetamine and sentenced to nine years in prison. Police are awaiting DNA analysis results before they can identify Mr West as the father of all seven dead infants.
His family issued a statement speaking of their “shock and confusion”. The people I feel the sorriest for in this mess are the three daughters since (1) the police have not ruled out making more arrests (2) both of their parents are criminals and (3) if any of the unhappy girls did assist their mother in birthing their unfortunate siblings, it would not have been voluntary. They themselves would have been children at the time of the births and therefore very much under Huntsman’s strict control.
Police served a new search warrant at the house of a family member but turned up nothing useful. Investigators began poring over evidence to find out if Huntsman gave birth and killed any other babies, but that didn’t seem to be the case. Think of the stigma the girls now live with and probably will for the rest of their lives, should they remain in their current neighbourhood and its surrounding vicinity. It shouldn’t come as a surprise however that Huntsman had no consideration for her living children. Think of what she put her infants through.