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Judge gives prosecutors more time in Utah dead babies case

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By The Associated Press
Monday, April 21, 2014, 8:57 p.m.
 

PROVO, Utah — Prosecutors have been granted more time to determine what charges to file against a woman accused of killing six of her babies and storing their bodies in her garage.

Megan Huntsman, 39, was in court on Monday wearing a baggy prison jumpsuit, her hands and ankles shackled. She mostly stared at the ground as prosecutors asked the judge for two weeks to sort through evidence and ensure they choose the proper charges.

A state judge in Provo granted them a week after Huntsman's newly appointed attorney objected to two weeks.

Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman said outside court that Huntsman remains the only suspect.

Pleasant Grove police Detective Dan Beckstrom noted authorities are awaiting results from autopsies completed last week by the state medical examiner.

Investigators hope DNA will reveal the sex of the babies and who their parents are, although that could take months.

“There's a lot more work to do on those autopsies, and when we get that information, we'll be ready to file,” Beckstrom said.

Buhman said authorities will have questions, but the extra week will give his office more time to make a careful, calculated decision on charges.

“We want to make sure we don't file erroneously,” Buhman said. “The closer we can get to the truth of what happened, the better decisions we can make.”

Huntsman's estranged husband, Darren West, discovered one of the infant corpses in the garage of their Pleasant Grove home on April 12.

Police said Huntsman acknowledged that from 1996 to 2006, she strangled or suffocated six of the babies, put them in plastic bags and packed them inside boxes in the garage of her home south of Salt Lake City. She told police a seventh baby was stillborn.

Investigators believe West is the father of thebabies, though they are waiting on DNA results to confirm that, Buhman said. West lived with Huntsman during the decade in which she says the deaths occurred, but he was in federal prison on drug charges from 2006 until January.

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