Arrest Made In Cold Case Murders Of Three Missing Men

Jan 18, 2019, 7:16 PM | Updated: 8:53 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A suspect has been arrested in the killing of three men who had been missing since November 2014. Their bodies were never found.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced murder and robbery charges against Richard Christopher Friday afternoon.

Investigators said Christopher killed Danny Gallegos, Levi Collins, and Braden Emerson, who went missing over four years ago.

“Closing these kind of cold cases are very important to us as a community. Not only to the immediacy of the family who lost a loved one and for whom there is no closure, but it is also ultimately a closure for us as a community,” Gill said at a news conference.

According to a probable-cause statement, a man identified as “J.C.” told investigators he helped Christopher get rid of the men’s bodies. He talked to investigators in exchange for a “use immunity” agreement.

The probable-cause statement said “J.C.” told investigators he was going to buy a house for Gallegos in his own name. He said Gallegos came to his retail business on November 1, 2014, and that Christopher shot and killed him.

He told investigators Christopher then went to Gallegos’ vehicle, where Emerson and Collins were. He told investigators Christopher told them he needed a ride to his RV and they drove him. When they arrived, “J.C.” said, Christopher shot and killed them.

“J.C.” told investigators he agreed to help Christopher by getting rid of the men’s bodies. He said borrowed a truck from someone and went to stores to get things needed to get rid of the bodies.

Bodies, Evidence Cremated 

Then, he told investigators he and Christopher went to a cremation chamber in Utah County to burn them. He told investigators he and Christopher also burned evidence at a campsite in Davis County.

Gill said digital location information and other investigative work corroborated “J.C.”‘s story. He said they found out that Christopher was planning to be at the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City on Friday morning, and arrested him as he left the building.

Gill said the district attorney’s office is pursuing charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, obstruction of justice, abuse or desecration of a human body, and purchase, transfer, possession, or use of a firearm by a restricted person.

Levi Collins’ mother, Judi Rinker, was at the news conference. She said the news was bittersweet.

“Four years, two months, and 17 days since I last seen my son. Four years, two months, and 17 days we’ve been waiting for justice,” she said.

Rinker said she hopes to see a conclusion soon. In fact, she said Collins’ daughter, who was born after he disappeared, has the middle names “Levi Justice.”

“For the one day when we would get to justice for Levi,” she said.

Prosecutors considering the death penalty

Gill said this could be a death penalty case.

He said Christopher would likely be arraigned Tuesday or Wednesday. They have 60 days from then to decide whether to pursue the death penalty.

KSL 5 TV Live


Christopher "Topher" Owens and William "Drew" Bull were last seen on February 26 in Blanding...

Mark Jones

Man accused in the killing of two missing men earlier this year is facing additional charges

A man accused of killing two men missing from San Juan County earlier this year is facing additional charges.

6 hours ago

This image contained in the criminal complaint against Alexander Yuk Ching Ma shows a screenshot ma...

Josh Campbell, CNN

Former CIA officer pleads guilty to spying for China, DOJ says

A former CIA officer targeted in an FBI undercover operation pleaded guilty Friday to providing national defense information to the People’s Republic of China.

17 hours ago

The Unified police car that crashed into the suspect's yellow car....

Michael Houck and Lauren Steinbrecher, KSL TV

Unified police officer hospitalized after being hit by suspect, second officer and suspect also hospitalized

A Unified police officer was hospitalized after being hit by a suspect's truck on Friday, police say.

1 day ago

FILE PHOTO of handcuffs and gavel...

Carlysle Price

Woman facing charges after group-assault against ex-boyfriend

A woman was arrested after engaging in domestic violence against her ex-boyfriend Tuesday.

1 day ago

Orlando Esiesa Tobar, 29, from Honduras, who goes by the moniker “Chaparro,” was charged Tuesda...

Brianna Chavez

Suspect accused of kidnapping, killing Kearns woman pleads guilty

One of six suspects pled guilty to the kidnapping and death of a 25-year-old Kearns woman in court Friday.

1 day ago

Kouri Richins attends a hearing on May 15 in Park City. Two new attorneys were appointed to represe...

Emily Ashcraft, and Daniel Woodruff, KSL TV

Kouri Richins vows to prove innocence as new attorneys take over murder case

Richins sent voice recordings to multiple national media outlets maintaining she is innocent, after her attorneys asked to be released from the case.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Arrest Made In Cold Case Murders Of Three Missing Men