Local officers help solve
murders of missing teens
Bodies of teens recovered from
mine shaft, funerals planned
By Robert Stevens
Apr. 5, 2018
The whereabouts of two missing teens was learned after a woman was questioned further after a routine traffic stop in Sanpete County. The woman also supplied information about the alleged murderer of the missing teens—the woman’s boyfriend.
After the Sanpete County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Juab County woman, Morgan Henderson, 34, during a routine traffic stop because she was speeding, she eventually led investigators to the location where two slain teens’ bodies were dumped after being stabbed to death.
Police interrogating Henderson were able to ascertain the location of the missing teens who had been killed, allegedly by Henderson’s boyfriend, Jerrod William Baum, 41, due to a jealous rage, according to Henderson.
The traffic stop occurred on Sunday, March 24, said Derick Taysom, a detective with the Sanpete County Sheriff’s Office
Henderson was red flagged by the dispatch operator, who relayed to the patrol deputy that he needed to be aware that Henderson was connected to the investigation into missing Eureka teens, Riley Powell and his girlfriend Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson, who have been missing since Dec. 30, 2017.
The deputy arrested Henderson and found firearms, knives and drugs in her vehicle.
She was arrested and booked into the Sanpete County Jail where investigators began to question her.
Henderson had already been questioned by investigators before—the first time on Jan. 9.
At that time, according to a police affidavit, Henderson first stated that the young couple had never been to her place, but after further pressing from police, she admitted that the pair had visited the house where she was living with Baum.
The last message Powell sent on Facebook was to Henderson, saying the two agreed to meet at her house in an hour, according to the report.
Henderson told investigators that Baum would not allow her to have male friends over to the house when he was not home. She said the young teens came and stayed for 40 minutes then left, and she didn’t know what happened after that.
But it wasn’t long before investigators got Henderson to admit that Baum had discovered that the young couple had been there while he was gone.
According to Henderson’s testimony in the affidavit, Baum told her she knew he didn’t allow other men over, and “it was too bad because he never had to kill an innocent before.”
Henderson admitted to investigators that on New Year’s Eve, Baum burned items in a barrel that smelled like bleach, and the flames were green.
She said Baum told her “he made Riley suffer, but that he felt bad about Brelynne and made it quick and painless,” according to the police affidavit.
Henderson eventually took investigators to the Mammoth area in Juab County and showed them a barrel that contained phones that had been destroyed, several lengths of rope, used duct tape, pieces of a Marlboro cigarette carton, pieces of two knife sheaths, roofing nails, baby wipes and plastic sacks.
Also in the barrel was a camouflage tie-down strap that was similar to the one found in the missing teen couple’s abandoned jeep, according to the report.
She then took investigators to the area of the Tintic Standard No. 2 Mine outside Eureka where she believed the missing teen couple was killed.
A camera was lowered into the mine, which is about 1,800 feet deep.
The bodies were found on a ledge about 100 feet down.
The next day, rescue crews recovered the two bodies, and the bodies were taken to the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner to confirm their identities and causes of death.
“It was while she was in this area that she admitted that she had driven the Jeep out to Cherry Creek where she and Jerrod dumped it,” the report states.
After the bodies were found on Tuesday, March 27, Henderson gave detectives more information. She said after Powell and Otteson left her house on Dec. 30, Baum came back shortly and took her outside.
According to Henderson’s testimony in the report, they went outside, and she saw the couple tied up in the back of Riley’s Jeep. Henderson also said Baum told her to get in the Jeep and that they would go for a ride to have a talk. They then drove to the area of the mine.
According to Henderson, Baum then used a knife to kill the teen couple and then dumped their bodies in the mine, police wrote in the affidavit.
Taysom said the case has been handed over to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office to continue the investigation because the crime was committed in their jurisdiction. He expects all the charges against Baum and Henderson to be combined into their own individual cases.
Baum already has a long record. In 1992, when Baum was age 15, he was charged with attempted murder and 10 other charges.
While incarcerated at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison, Baum was one of five inmates charged with more than 30 felonies in connection with a five-hour riot on Aug. 9, 1994, that caused an estimated $40,000 in damages.
He has been charged with multiple felony charges, including two charges of aggravated kidnapping and two charges of aggravated murder.
Funeral services for Otteson and Powell were announced Monday to take place tomorrow in Eureka and in Tooele.