TIMELINE: Investigation, trial in the killings of Breezy Otteson and Riley Powell
In January 2018, two teens, 17-year-old Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson and 18-year-old Riley Powell, disappeared. What followed was a monthslong investigation and a yearslong effort to get to trial.
Here’s a timeline of the events.
Dec. 29, 2017: Powell and Otteson were last seen together. They made a stop in Spanish Fork on their way home to Eureka where they lived with Powell’s grandfather.
They visited 34-year-old Morgan Lewis Henderson (who goes by Morgan Lewis in the 2022 murder trial) in Mammoth, Utah.
The following events are based on Henderson’s testimony.
Jerrod William Baum, Henderson’s boyfriend, arrived at the home in Mammoth and told Henderson, “I told you you couldn’t have guy friends.”
Baum bound the teens’ hands and feet, duct-taped their mouths and placed them in a jeep. Baum then drove the jeep with Henderson in the passenger seat and the teens in the back to a remote area of Eureka on the edge of a cliff.
At some point, Otteson requested to be untied and said she was pregnant.
Baum forced Henderson and Otteson to their knees and made them witness as he beat and repeatedly stabbed Powell before pushing him down a mine shaft.
Baum then slit Otteson’s throat and picked her up before dropping her down the open mine shaft.
Baum said “that he had made Riley suffer, but that he felt bad about Brelynne, so he made her death quick and painless,” the charges state.
Jan. 2, 2018: The teens were reported missing.
Jan. 9, 2018: Detectives enter the home of Baum and Henderson and ask them about the teens’ whereabouts. Baum and Henderson tell police Powell may have gotten into a fight on New Year’s Eve and they don’t know where they are or what happened.
Jan. 11, 2018: Powell’s jeep was found about a mile south of Cherry Creek Reservoir, hidden by some trees with two flat tires.
Jan. 15, 2018: A search warrant is served at Powell’s mother’s home in Tooele County. Juab County Sheriff Doug Anderson releases a statement that says the condition and location of the Jeep is “highly suspicious” and foul play is “strongly suggested.”
Jan. 25, 2018: Henderson was interviewed by police. She claimed the teens never visited her home the night of Dec. 29 until the detective continued to press her with questions.
Henderson eventually admitted they had visited the home, but didn’t know where they had gone or what had become of them.
March 25, 2018: Henderson was pulled over for speeding and arrested for investigation of drug and weapons charges. She felt “tremendous guilt” and tells police how Baum killed the teens and where he dumped the bodies.
March 27, 2018: Henderson leads police to Tintic Standard Mine, an abandoned mine in a remote area of Utah County. Using a camera, two bodies, later confirmed to be Otteson and Powell, are located about 100 feet down in the Tintic Standard Mine. Both Powell and Otteson had their hands tied behind their backs and appeared to have stab wounds, according to a police affidavit.
March 28, 2018: Baum is arrested on the suspicion of murder.
March 30, 2018: Henderson is arrested on suspicion of obstruction of justice. The bodies found in the mine are confirmed to be Riley Powell and Brelynne Otteson by the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner.
April 3, 2018: Baum is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Otteson and Powell, along with a string of other felonies.
April 5, 2018: Henderson is charged with two second-degree felony counts of obstructing justice.
May 1, 2019: A judge determines there is enough evidence to bring the case to trial.
June 10, 2019: Baum pleads not guilty to the charges in the deaths of Otteson and Powell.
March 7, 2022: The trial for the murder of Otteson and Powell begins almost four years after their deaths.
“It’s unreal that we’re here,” Amanda Davis, Otteson’s aunt, said to KSL Monday. “We have fought tooth and nail to get here and it’s an emotional day to know that we’ve made it and that we can finally see it through.”
“We just hope the outcome here is what we’re looking for,” said Bill Powell, Riley’s dad. “The original outcome (the death penalty) got taken away from us, but life in prison is the next thing we got to look forward to, and we hope that happens.”
“We hope for justice for Breezy and Riley,” Davis said.
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