April 14, 2014

"Folks in Pleasant Grove, Utah, say they knew her pretty well. But somehow they didn’t know her well enough..."


How do people fail to notice 7 full-term pregnancies? Or is it that they don't want to admit that they had 7 extended opportunities to observe that a baby who should have been there was not there and they let it go?

The woman, Megan Huntsman, has left us with a striking and memorable mugshot:



She looks — among other things — surprised. If she did what she's accused of, I can see why she's surprised that what she's been doing has — after 7 iterations — been noticed.

IN THE COMMENTS: Illuninati wrote:
The article doesn't provide enough information to know what happened. Were these the products of miscarriages? Did she kill full term babies?
I answered:
I wrote "full-term" based on the article's saying she's "accused of killing her babies after giving birth to them."

You don't say that a woman who's had a miscarriage has "given birth." But I guess "full-term" assumes they were not premature. Maybe they were premature and born alive but they failed to survive. Perhaps she got pregnant over and over trying to deal with some problem that all the babies had, some medical mystery that she never was able to get help about and she hid the dead bodies out of grief and shame.

55 comments:

betamax3000 said...

Perhaps they figured she had seven abortions. Killed the babies when it was still her legal right.

madAsHell said...

It's a woman's right to choose?

richlb said...

I'm pretty sure if I noticed a neighbor who was obviously pregnant, but never witnessed a baby, I would think that there was some unfortunate medical reason. And probably wouldn't bring up such a sensitive subject with someone who wasn't a family member.

Illuninati said...

The article doesn't provide enough information to know what happened. Were these the products of miscarriages? Did she kill full term babies?

Morally, is there any difference between infanticide and partial birth abortion?

Ralph Hyatt said...

I had just read the article before surfing over here. I agree, it seems unlikely that nobody noticed she was pregnant, from the mug shot she doesn't seem particularly heavy. But the alternative, that she was having babies and killing them, would, to most people, seem unthinkable.

Most peoples' natural reaction to an infant is to smile at it. We wish to protect and nurture it.

We can't imagine that someone could do such horrific things. Our minds refuse to go there. The thoughts skid-off from such contemplations.

If such diabolical activities are occurring next door, what other awful things are happening around me that I don't want to know about?

RecChief said...

Huntsman?

Mark Nielsen said...

You can't always tell for sure if it's a pregnancy or just weight gain if the woman has a large build.

Some WP readers really letting their hate out in the comments over there. Very telling.

Tarrou said...

MY BODY MY CHOICES!

Ann Althouse said...

@Illuminati

I wrote "full-term" based on the article's saying she's "accused of killing her babies after giving birth to them."

You don't say that a woman who's had a miscarriage has "given birth." But I guess "full-term" assumes they were not premature. Maybe they were premature and born alive but they failed to survive. Perhaps she got pregnant over and over trying to deal with some problem that all the babies had, some medical mystery that she never was able to get help about and she hid the dead bodies out of grief and shame.

Jason said...

NARAL's Woman of the Year!!!

Bob Ellison said...

Most people lack imagination. Individuals can be much worse than we can easily imagine. We project, as Ralph Hyatt suggests. We think that's not possible.

Individual evil can be much worse than most of us realize.

Bob Ellison said...

Very creative, Professor.

Maybe the babies were known and shown to be evil upon emerging from the womb. Maybe they were hellspawn or bad seeds, and she did us all a favor.

Doesn't smell like it.

Basil said...

Full Birth Abortion. Nothing to see here, move along. She will keynote the Democratic National Convention which nominates Hillary.

Bob Boyd said...

It also seems bizarre that she would move out and just leave the dead babies after keeping them in the first place.
It seems like she'd either dispose of them to hide her deeds or take them with her out of some twisted attachment.

Tank said...

I'm thinking that those babies popped out, took one look at mom, and killed themselves.

Curious George said...

What's this have to do with baseball?

Roger Sweeny said...

Lots of women in modern America are fat, and lots of women in modern America yo-yo diet. It's not unreasonable to think that's what was happening, especially if she wore loose clothing.

More than one comedy has included a scene where a woman is asked when the baby is due, or is in some other way treated like she is pregnant, when in fact she isn't.

Æthelflæd said...

Like richlb said, I would be afraid to cause pain, and would assume there was something medical going on. Can you imagine calling the police based on reasonable suspicions only to find out the babies died in the hospital, or of SIDS, or that she had some kind of recurring tumor? How awful. IT would be hard to convince your own brain of the awful truth.

That being said, doesn't this woman know that all she has to do is get someone else to kill it for her? Our schizophrenic laws won't let you just deal with the issue yourself. Just get a Gosnell involved and everything is A-OK. Gotta make sure everything is safe and sanitary. Or not.

Greg Hlatky said...

How about "post-term fetus"?

David L. said...

The neighbors might have made two assumptions that so far have not been mentioned:
1. She was serving as a host mother, and the babies, once born, had been given to the legal parents.
2. After a few instances of "pregnancy but no infant," they concluded that she faked pregnancy at intervals for reasons best known to herself, and "politely" ignored it.

acm said...

There are a lot of women, especially mothers, who just carry their weight in such a way that they could definitely be pregnant without anyone knowing. My mother was 26 weeks when my sister was born (in a hospital, and she's fine) and lots of casual acquaintances didn't know she was pregnant. In fact, the week my mom came home from the hospital (without my sister, who was in the NICU) a lady at church came by and said hello, mentioned that she'd heard Mom was in the hospital, hoped everything was alright, and asked "So what was the matter?". Mom said "Well, I developed eclampsia" and the poor lady said innocently "Oh, my, I thought only pregnant women could get that".

I would think if I noticed a neighbor looking pregnant, and no baby came, I'd assume it was a miscarriage, a private medical issue---the first time, maybe the second. If the same woman looked pregnant and then didn't, but never was seen with a baby or talked about expecting, over the course of a decade, though, I'd just assume that she just had an unfortunate tendency to carry her weight that way. Or that she had some condition like uterine fibroids. Or, hell, I'd probably jump to the thought that she was a professional surrogate before I wondered if she was having babies and keeping their poor tiny bodies in the garage.

Crimso said...

Instantly reminded me of:

'And this went on until, here, I quote..."Neighbors were alerted
when a man ran from the premises....wearing only a dog collar." You can't make up such
a thing as that. I dare you to try. But that's what it took, you notice, to get somebody's attention. Digging graves in the backyard didn't bring any.'

Freeman Hunt said...

I can see why people wouldn't have asked. I would never ask an acquaintance about a baby that never appeared because I would assume a stillbirth or some other horrible tragedy. There are too many people who struggle with repeated miscarriages and fertility problems to suspect that a woman who is often pregnant then not pregnant is a murderer.

Ipso Fatso said...

How many men impregnated her and where are they?

CStanley said...

Like many other commenters so far, I don't find it unusual that the neighbors either didn't know or didn't ask,

The husband though? How could he have not known? And at the risk of delving into the macabre, were the babies preserved or mummified? If not, how did the decay and odor not come to anyone's attention?

Bob Ellison said...

Freeman Hunt, asking is part of taking care of others. It's not PC these days. I sometimes collapse from epilepsy or hypoglycemia. It's correct to express concern and ask, "can I help?" It's not correct to assume that asking is some kind of a politically incorrect imposition.

Freeman Hunt said...

For a friend, that would be appropriate. Around here that would be considered very intrusive from an acquaintance.

Freeman Hunt said...

Oh! I mean about the pregnant and then not. Obviously a person collapsing is entirely different! Of course people ask how to help in that situation.

Bob Ellison said...

Because it seems to be faster?

jr565 said...

We shoudl go easy on her. THey wouldn't have been happy babies anyway.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I have a friend who's managed to hide her pregnancy from casual acquaintances for 9 months (she's do any day.) She was doing it as a joke, just because she figured that the people she's close to know, and she thinks it would be funny to suddenly appear with a newborn and watch the double takes...


--- If a woman has a long torso and wears baggy clothes, she can pass as 'getting a little plump'....

So... concealing a pregnancy isn't that hard. But killing seven babies? She's either profoundly broken, or a disciple of Singer.

Trashhauler said...

Why hide the bodies in the garage? Did she want to get caught?

Years ago, before we were married, my wife had two pure bred Burmese cats that produced a litter of five healthy kittens. Very valuable. Mother cat and the newborn kittens were kept in the laundry room. A young boy put the male cat in the laundry room "so he could visit his babies." Left unattended for a half hour, the two adult cats ate all five of the kittens. The vet wasn't surprised - he said it happens a lot with certain high-strung breeds.

At least this woman didn't eat them.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Perhaps she got pregnant over and over trying to deal with some problem that all the babies had, some medical mystery that she never was able to get help about and she hid the dead bodies out of grief and shame.

What's that song again -- "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps?" What are your criteria for giving someone the presumptive benefit of the doubt, Prof., either generally or when questions of parenthood responsibility/questions of "life" are concerned?

ken in sc said...

If anybody asks anything, they ask, "What did he do to make her do that."

William said...

That's some photo. If you could take a picture of the soul of Kathleen Sibelius on the day of the rollout, I bet it would look like that.

Andrea Ramsay said...

I am short of words, but all i can say is a thank you to Dr zogo for making me and my family a happy home, i have been married for 2 years without a child, i saw a post that says contact Dr zogo for Infertility help, so i did, after he cast a pregnancy spell on me i get pregnant few weeks later, and i am 4 months pregnant now, so i decide to drop this here for any body going through infertility problem to contact Dr zogo on zogospellcasters@gmail.com and you will be happy you did

Andrea Ramsay said...

I am short of words, but all i can say is a thank you to Dr zogo for making me and my family a happy home, i have been married for 2 years without a child, i saw a post that says contact Dr zogo for Infertility help, so i did, after he cast a pregnancy spell on me i get pregnant few weeks later, and i am 4 months pregnant now, so i decide to drop this here for any body going through infertility problem to contact Dr zogo on zogospellcasters@gmail.com and you will be happy you did

T Rellis said...

Kermit Gosnel was a "local crime story," and thus wasn't covered nationally. 7 dead hacked up babies, Gosnell called that Thursday. But. This chick is all over the news.

David said...

Ipso Fatso said...
How many men impregnated her and where are they?


And what role might they have had in the deaths of the children?

Strange, sad case.

Bob Boyd said...

You know why she looks so freaked out?
Because she had very carefully disposed of every one of those babies in a deep lake over 100 miles from her home.

Biff said...

For people who do not deal routinely with pregnancies and births, it seems inconceivable not to know whether a neighbor or associate is pregnant. For people who work in an obstetrics environment, it is surprisingly common for a pregnancy to be superficially non-obvious to others, or even to the mother herself. While it is more common among heavier women, there are fairly petite women whose anatomy can accommodate a pregnancy without dramatic outward changes. I could go into much greater detail about anatomy and physiology, but I'd probably get into TMI territory quickly. (FWIW, I taught various anatomy and human development courses at a well known medical school back in the 1990s, and I witnessed some of these cases firsthand.) Throw in the fact that some women consider it rude or offensive to be asked about pregnancy, and it does not surprise me that something like this could have happened.

Birches said...

As has been said, bigger ladies don't have to "show" if they don't want to. Especially if they don't wear maternity clothes (which is usually the giveaway). But that's for acquaintances. I would think that even the fattest woman would look pregnant naked. So maybe her and her husband were estranged?

sdharms said...

She has a teenage daughter was she born after all these? WHERE WAS THE HUSBAND ? He had to know she was pg. I heard him on the radio -- sound a little slow witted.

persiflage mahal said...

Bob Boyd said...
You know why she looks so freaked out?
Because she had very carefully disposed of every one of those babies in a deep lake over 100 miles from her home.

Not to make light of horrorific tragedy, but that's a movie I'd pay to see.

Freeman Hunt said...

Bob, no, not because one is faster. Because one is a medical emergency and the other is not. Most people who've had miscarriages do not want to be asked about them by acquaintances. That's the most common reason that many couples don't tell anyone they're expecting until the end of the first trimester of pregnancy.

Saint Croix said...

How are they going to prove murder?

The discovery of a dead baby doesn't prove that the child was born before she died. If her defense is "I had seven abortions and/or miscarriages," how do you prove she didn't?

Contrast this case with the woman who kept her dead baby under her bed. She was acquitted.

Mark Nielsen said...

T Rellis said:

"Kermit Gosnel was a 'local crime story,' and thus wasn't covered nationally. 7 dead hacked up babies, Gosnell called that Thursday. But. This chick is all over the news."

Great point. The press was never held to account for their behavior there. It gets worse every year.

Bob Ellison said...

Freeman Hunt, which one is an emergency, and which is not?

Bob Ellison said...

Huh. There's a newer post on this blog with the word "collapses" in the title. Maybe the whole blog-world is a game of dominoes.

The Crack Emcee said...

I told you guys of the kind of crimes that occur, regularly, in Utah.

Mormonism is NOT a good culture to raise kids in,...

Freeman Hunt said...

If someone has collapsed on the floor, that is an emergency. If someone was pregnant and now is not but is walking around in good health, that is not an emergency. It would be an emergency if a pregnant woman went into labor or started bleeding in front of you. I do not think the comparison you posed works.

roger said...

" Mormonism is NOT a good culture to raise kids in,..."

I live in Utah and I have been enmeshed in "mormon culture" for 50 years. There could be no crime more alien and hostile to my senses than this.

you are a hack and an ass

Nichevo said...

Crack,

What's the difference between saying that and saying "blackism is NOT a good culture to raise kids in,..?"

Nichevo said...

Hey! Any relation to Jon Bingaman? Erstwhile savior of the GOP?

Nichevo said...

Jon Huntsman of course. Not Bingaman. Stupid Android phone. Any relation to the killer?