By Dave Andrusko
Last April NRL News Today reported that District Judge Darold McDade sentenced Megan Huntsman, the Utah mother who murdered six newborn babies over the course of a decade, to life in prison.
The babies were smothered over a span that began in January 1996 and ended at the end of December 2006. Police found the little bodies in the garage, stuffed in boxes with clothing and towels.
Rejecting the prosecution’s recommendation that the five-years-to-life prison sentences run concurrently—he said that was “not appropriate” for the crimes, according to Jessica Miller of The Salt Lake Tribune–Judge McDade ordered Huntsman, 40, to serve three of the counts consecutively, while the rest will run concurrently.
The primary question, obviously, was why she had killed her newborns. As we reported, Huntsman eventually attributed her murderous behavior to a combination of a methamphetamine and alcohol addiction, an abusive marriage, and her own depression.
But how could no one not know she was pregnant? Granted Darren West, her estranged husband, the father of all the dead babies, spent time in prison, but how could he not know?
The Associated Press obtained public records of the investigation, including transcripts of police interviews, and wrote a story today attempting to answer that question. The AP’s Brady McCombs reports
During a long interview with Pleasant Grove police Detective Dan Beckstrom, Huntsman reflected for a moment how her husband could have slept in the same bed with her every night and not known she was pregnant and why she didn’t tell him.
“I think my mind was just so out of it you know,” she said. “All I was focused on was the next fix.” …
She said during one birth, West was watching TV with his brother and sister-in-law when Huntsman told them she was going to take a bath and go to bed. Instead she gave birth, suffocating the baby.
That may explain why Huntsman didn’t tell him, but why didn’t West notice Huntsman was pregnant? From one intense police interview, according to McCombs, we learn
West acknowledged that he knew of a couple of Megan Huntsman’s pregnancies from 1996 to 2006, but said she told him she had miscarriages. West said he had no idea what his wife did with the fetuses or bodies.
That was, in part, caused by the fact that he spent most of the decade high nearly every day on cocaine, methamphetamines or marijuana before being sent to federal prison on meth charges, he said.
“I knew she was pregnant, but I was so messed up on freaking drugs I don’t know what was going on,” West said.
From the beginning, police were highly skeptical that West knew nothing. But he adamantly denied having any knowledge, including in the first interview in April 2014 that took place just hours after he discovered one of the babies’ bodies while cleaning out the garage. (West had just got out of prison.)
McCombs ends his story by quoting from the transcript:
“I can tell that you know about more than, than what you’re telling me,” Beckstrom said to West.
“I promise. I swear to God I never knew about all these pregnancies,” West said.
“What we want to do is we want to do what’s right, and we want to have closure for these children,” Beckstrom said. “We want to have closure for your kids that are alive, for these babies’ grandparents. I mean these babies were in a garage for years.”
“I never knew that, no I never knew that,” West said.
In the end, police never charged West.
“Obviously, the practical, reasonable thought would be how in the world could he not have known?” Utah County Deputy Attorney Jared Perkins told McCombs. “That, I think, was the cause for the initial suspicion… But in the end, there just turned out to be no evidence that would implicate him.”