Expert Says Huntsman Case Breaks New, Terrifying Ground
(KUTV) Cheryl Meyer, of Wright State University in Ohio, has literally written the book on woman who has murdered their children. Meyers has interviewed dozens of woman, and reviewed more than 1000 cases about the subject. She details her work in the books, "Mothers Who Kill Their Children," and "When Mothers Kill."
We spoke to Meyer Tuesday via telephone, she classifies woman who kill in several different categories, including those who kill their children through neglect. Then she says there are those how deny and conceal that they are even pregnant, and then kill their children within the first 24 hours of the infant's life.
Meyer says Megan Huntsman, the woman who Pleasant Grove police say admitted to giving birth to, then killing six babies, falls into this category, but Huntsman is not typical of this categorization, " the average case is, they are 17-years-old, they have sex for the first time, they get pregnant for the first time, they are either denying they are pregnant or they are concealing it," says Meyer.
Meyer goes on to say, almost all woman who kill their infants within the first day of their life feel that they do not have any support from the people in their lives, " one thing that crossed all our cases, no matter what category, was the amount of social support they have, most of the women did not think they had social support, even though you might have," says Meyer.
Meyer says there are only two cases that come even close to the amount of carnage allegedly left behind by Huntsman, she cites a case in Ocean City Maryland, where a woman was charged with killing one of her infant children and keeping three older sets of fetal remains, but those charges were eventually dropped. Another similar case involves Kenisha Berry, a Beaumont, Texas woman who bound and dumped her four day old baby boy in 1998, who later died. Then five years later, she attempted to do the same thing to a new born baby girl, the baby survived, Berry is currently on death row in Texas.
Meyer says Hunstman is somehow able to distance herself from the fact that she was pregnant, and Meyer says, it appears so was everyone else in Huntsman's life, including her estranged husband, Darren West, "He's also somehow able to deny this and conceal that his wife is pregnant, and he is able to deny and conceal that these pregnancies ended. We don't know what she was telling him, but we also don't know how he could fail to notice that," says Meyer.
Meyer says other cases pale in comparison to Megan Huntsman's case, "What strikes me about her is that I can understand that you can do this, dissociate for one child, but to do that repeatedly over time. Somewhere in there you would have had some moments of clarity, it strikes me that you would really have to have a capacity to, beyond anything that I can imagine, to just dissociate," says Meyer
(KUTV) President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' First Presidency was among a group of faith leaders who met with President Obama at the White House to discuss immigration reform.
Uchtdorf said while the LDS Church has views that are very different from the president on some issues, on immigration there is common ground. Uchtdorf said all the faith leaders present told the president they support immigration reform that honors common principles. "I'm grateful we've focused on principles of our Christian faith to love our neighbor, our fellow man wherever they are regardless of place, nation, or time," he said.
Uchtdorf also expressed hope that immigration reform would not be further delayed "by small things which can be resolved through common consent and common sense." Last year, after the president proposed a plan that would give undocumented immigrants a chance to obtain citizenship, the Senate passed and immigration reform plan. The matter though, was stuck in the House of Representatives.
(KUTV) The Stericycle company, responsible for incinerating medical waste, says they've been holding public meetings with residents of Tooele County, to educate them about what they do.
Wednesday's meeting at Grantsville High School was only attended by about a dozen people.
"It seems almost secretive to me and some of the meetings have been in the middle of the day when people are at work," said Grantsville resident, Laura Bullock-Hill, who admits her friends had no idea Stericycle was holding public meetings.
While Wednesday's meeting was scarcely attended, executives were grilled by an informed group of residents, concerned about the incinerator moving to their county.
"I want to know that they care about our health and they're not just in it for the money or in it for the economy," said Bullock-Hill.
The current Stericycle location in North Salt Lake has been a hotbed of controversy, primarily because the facility is surrounded by homes.
State Lawmakers recently approved moving the facility to Tooele County. The proposed location is in an isolated industrial zone, north of I-80.
"Near a single house, we're probably about 11 miles," said Selin Hoboy, Stericycle's VP of Legislative Affairs. "Probably to the nearest neighborhood, about 20 miles."
If the move does go through, Hoboy says it's several years away. Stericycle is currently trying to obtain licenses and permits. "We started moving forward to get the engineering drawings together so we can start applying for the conditional use permit and the solid waste permit and the air permit," she said.
In the meantime, Stericycle will remain active in its North Salt Lake location and will be required to meet new regulations and emissions standards that will take effect in October.
"This is still the best available technology for things like chemotherapy, drug waste and pathological waste," said Hoboy.
Stericycle says the next public meeting will be held at the Tooele County Building, on Wednesday, May 7, at 4pm.
University Researchers Consider Unintended Benefits of Hangovers
(KUTV) Spring breakers are hitting up America's hot spots this time of year, and many come home regretting excessive drinking and the awful feeling of their first hangover.
University of Utah neuro-scientists say that the feeling of regret can be a good thing. Researchers are studying the brains of rats to see if they can make any headway in figuring out the human brain and how it reacts to excess alcohol, since rats have a very similar brain structure to humans.
While current studies are being done on rats you have to think about the human comparison. Teens and college students will often drink to excess, get sick, pass out and do one of two things: drink more the next time or stop because it's not fun to get sick.
Sharif Taha a professor of brain behavior notes that "two people can have very different responses to the same dose of alcohol." Taha may have pin pointed a part of the brain that controls the response to binge drinking; explaining that "we need brain circuits that teach us to avoid potentially dangerous outcomes."
The lateral habenula found in both humans and rats may just be the Holy Grail to end addictive drinking. In a control group of rats with functioning habenula's, too much drinking and the ensuing hangover can prove to be a good thing. Taha says during the next drinking session "the rat will likely remember that awful feeling and suppress how much they're willing to drink." The rats with a steady drip of alcohol and no habenula act like crazy teens on spring break. As opposed to the control group of rats that drink, but can sense their limits.
Taha says that his researchers find that the rats without the use of the habenula will drink the equivalent of four or five beers in half an hour. The inebriated rats with little to no self-control, had one thing in common, they were missing the habenula. Rats without this important part of their brain drink twice as much as the control group.
Taha says of his study, "In the animals where this brain region has been deactivated, they escalate much more rapidly and maintain a higher rate of consumption than the control group." It is important to note, that because the tiny habenula seems to be invaluable in a rat's self-control with alcohol. In the end that tiny region of the brain seems to act "as a brake pedal to regulating alcohol intake."
So what does this mean for the average human? Taha looks to the future saying, "this could provide a new target for therapeutics down the road, new medicines in treating alcohol addiction." This research will continue so scientists can figure out if this part of the brain makes the rats learn from their hangovers and not repeat the bad behavior or if it controls how sick or well you feel after drinking. That answer will help them find treatments for alcoholics and help people figure out how to gain control before getting to that point.
Accused Fraudster Jeremy Johnson Appears In Federal Court
(KUTV) The federal government is after Jeremy Johnson in connection to a criminal case in Utah, and a civil case in Nevada.
In court Tuesday, prosecutors and the judges noted Johnson's two cases have gone on more than three years, with no trial in sight.
In his Utah trial, Johnson is accused of 86 counts of defrauding customers on the internet and also of defrauding banks; judges have ordered him not to talk to reporters.
In Nevada he is also accused of some of the same fraud charges, but in a civil case. The Federal Trade Commission has seized $21.2 million dollars of Johnson's money.
Without a trial, they have already spent $5.8 million dollars of Johnson's money on receivers to administer his money. Even if Johnson is eventually found to have done nothing wrong, he may never get his money back.
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