clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Tips still sought in Kiplyn case

Prosecutors, family hope girl's body can be found

Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman holds up a poster during Friday's news conference, which focused on murder charges.
Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman holds up a poster during Friday's news conference, which focused on murder charges.
Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News

PROVO — New evidence continues to surface in the case of missing teen Kiplyn Davis — allowing prosecutors to file a second murder charge against another one of Davis' classmates — but they're still hoping for more hints so they can recover her body.

"Even though it has been 12 years, there's a chance that Kiplyn's body may still be found," said Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman, holding up a missing poster showing the red-headed Spanish Fork teen who is presumed dead after disappearing May 2, 1995.

"We ask anyone that uses the canyons in the next few months — hunters, hikers, off-roaders — that they keep their eyes open, be vigilant and report to us if they find anything," he said.

During a news conference Friday, officials confirmed that a first-degree felony charge was filed Thursday in 4th District Court against Christopher Jeppson, 30. Another man, Timmy Brent Olsen, was charged in January 2006 with Davis' murder.

Jeppson was arrested Thursday night by Spanish Fork police on $100,000 bail. His arrest was based on new information that surfaced from his recent federal trial. He was found guilty on four counts of perjury and will be sentenced Nov. 28.

"We continually receive information," said Dee Rosenbaum, Spanish Fork police chief. "As recently as this week, one of my lieutenants ... received additional information, of course which we're not going to discuss, but we continue to follow up on those leads."

But none of those leads have led investigators to Davis' body.

"We don't know exactly what to look for," Buhman said. "It could be something like a truck box, a barrel, a blanket, a variety of things. We're looking for human remains and anything that could contain them. If we knew, we would be there. But we don't know."

Davis disappeared between fourth and fifth periods from Spanish Fork High School on May 2, 1995.

Jeppson allegedly told several people he had eaten lunch with Davis the day she disappeared but dropped her off at her house.

He also reportedly confessed to his ex-wife, Jeanine Jeppson, that he killed Davis and buried her body — something she testified to in his federal hearing.

"We want to seek the public's continual help," Rosenbaum said. "We really feel that there are people out there who have heard things, who know of things and thought that they were not significant."

That same plea was echoed by Richard Davis, Kiplyn's father.

"I want people to know that we're not out here for vengeance, we want justice," Richard Davis said, becoming emotional. "We just want to bring Kiplyn home. I want to help the people who know where Kiplyn is. I'll help them any way I can, if they'll just tell us where she is."

Jeppson and Olsen as well as three other men — Rucker Leifson, Scott Brunson and Garry Von Blackmore — were all indicted by a federal grand jury in 2005.

Leifson's trial is scheduled to begin in early November.

But that doesn't mean that other arrangements are out of the question for the other individuals.

"We've always been willing and able to discuss with their defense counsel any plea agreement that they want to enter," said U.S. Attorney for Utah, Brett Tolman. "If they will be more cooperative than they have been, I will listen."

Olsen and Jeppson's cases in 4th District Court will proceed as fast as the paperwork will allow, Buhman said, adding that Tolman has assured them that federal proceedings won't be a cause for delay.

The U.S. Attorney's Office will also loan an assistant U.S. attorney to the Utah County Attorney's Office. That attorney will be deputized to help with the prosecution.