RENO, Nev. — The man accused of abandoning his stepson in Utah and suspected in his wife's disappearance has pleaded not guilty to assault and imprisonment charges.
Lyle Montgomery, 42, declined to enter his own plea, prompting Washoe District Judge James W. Hardesty to submit the not-guilty plea for him. Montgomery was being held on a $2.5 million, cash-only bail.
The charges accuse him of threatening his wife, Jeannette Corpuz, with a loaded gun and not letting her leave their home last October.
Montgomery became a suspect in her disappearance after authorities found his 3-year-old stepson — Corpuz's son — abandoned in a store in Salt Lake City on Jan. 25. Days after a nationwide search for the man, whose image appeared in a videotape at the store, police found Montgomery on the floor of his condominium with a handgun nearby.
His lawyer, Scott Freeman, said Montgomery stood silent at Friday's hearing because he plans to challenge the two felony charges: one count of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of false imprisonment, each carrying a maximum of six years in prison.
While Montgomery appeared in court, police continued their search for his wife, who has not been heard from since mid-January. Officials have said they believe she is dead and suspect Montgomery is responsible, although he has not been charged with murder.