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Hopes rise for finding Spanish Fork girl's body

Parents buoyed by arrest in the 10-year-old case

The parents of a 15-year-old Spanish Fork girl who has been missing for over a decade say the recent arrest and indictment of yet a third man in connection with the disappearance is a significant step toward bringing their daughter's body home.

"It's time to find her, it's been a long 10 years," said Kiplyn Davis' mother, Tamara Davis, outside federal court Monday.

Federal prosecutors gave hope to the Davises, calling the arrest and indictment of 28-year-old Timmy Brent Olsen on 20 counts of lying before a grand jury a big development in the case.

U.S. Attorney Paul Warner said testimony by several witnesses links Olsen directly to the disappearance, and possible murder, of Davis.

Olsen made a brief appearance Monday before a U.S. District Court magistrate, pleading not guilty on all counts. If convicted, his sentence could add up to a maximum of 100 years in prison.

Warner said a number of witnesses have put together a story that drastically conflicts with Olsen's, adding there was enough evidence to charge him with perjury.

Olsen, who was arrested in West Valley City on Friday, is said to have been a senior and fellow classmate of Davis at Spanish Fork High School when she vanished from the school on May 2, 1995.

According to the indictment unsealed Monday, numerous unnamed witnesses testified hearing Olsen say he drove Davis up a nearby canyon that day with a yet-to-be-identified man and then returned from the canyon without Davis.

In sometimes conflicting testimony, witnesses told prosecutors that Olsen had mentioned that the second man and Davis had gotten out of the truck and "went for a walk" while Olsen stayed in the truck. "They were gone for a while and that just the male person came back and got into the truck with you or got in the truck and sped off?" a prosecutor asked Olsen during a grand jury hearing on April 28.

Olsen denied that.

Other witnesses also put Olsen with Davis, "sluffing class" on the day she disappeared.

In chilling testimony, unnamed witnesses told a grand jury about hearing Olsen brag about killing Davis himself.

One witness testified hearing Olsen say, "I've done it once and I can do it again," while another witness claimed Olsen said, "I took her, I beat her and disposed of the body."

Olsen also allegedly indicated where the girl was buried by mentioning "she's up in the train tunnels," and talked about retrieving her body, according to the indictment. Olsen denied making those statements to anyone.

Prosecutors also said that Olsen tried to get a friend to offer an alibi of where he was on May 2 by telling FBI agents Olsen was roofing at a friend's house.

Olsen repeatedly denied making any of the statements before a grand jury.

For 10 years, Warner said numerous people were "intimidated into silence" regarding Davis' disappearance. "There has been a fear factor involved," he said.

Kiplyn's parents said they gained hope from the intensive law enforcement search for kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart. Richard Davis said the Smart case gave him an opening to ask Warner for help, and once federal authorities got involved, "things started happening."

The first break came in April, when another 28-year-old Spanish Fork man, Scott Brunson, was indicted on charges of arranging a false alibi with Olsen, claiming they were building a shed when the girl vanished.

Brunson, who has been released pending a January trial, was charged with lying to the FBI and the grand jury.

Another man, Garry Blackmore, was indicted in August on charges of perjury and lying to an FBI agent about whether he and an unnamed companion ever asked a third person for help moving a woman's body.

Blackmore, 25, who lived in the Salem and Spanish Fork areas before moving to Cardston, Alberta, remains in jail pending a trial set to begin Oct. 19.

On Monday, prosecutors asked the court that Olsen be held in custody out of concern that he is a flight risk and danger to the community. A detention hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 5.

Outside court, Warner said his office is pursuing the kidnapping aspect but lacks jurisdiction to pursue a murder charge. He did note prosecutors are working with the Utah County Attorney's Office on a homicide investigation, which could lead to state charges.

Tamara and Richard Davis said there are still others in Spanish Fork that have vital information and appealed to the parents of former teens to "soften their hearts" and talk to police. "We will not stop until we pass away or until we bring her home," Richard Davis said.

Richard Davis said he believes his daughter was talked into going with two men on a ride during a school lunch hour because it was the end of the school year. His daughter left her purse and dental retainer in her locker. Davis said he felt things got out of hand while up a canyon. "I think it was an accident," he said.

Kiplyn Davis is one of four unsolved — and apparently unconnected — cases involving missing Utah County girls or women since 1979. Only one body has been found, that of Peggy Sue Case of Spanish Fork, who had been reported missing in 1988.

In the other cases, Pamela Page of Springville vanished while jogging in April 1984, and Mary Katherine Miller of Provo vanished in June 1979 after driving her Honda sedan up on Mount Timpanogos and getting it stuck in a ravine. Her car was recovered, but Miller wasn't found.


Contributing: Associated Press

E-mail: gfattah@desnews.com