AMERICAN FORK—A man charged with murdering his girlfriend and her three-year-old son faced a Utah judge for the first time on Tuesday.
Christopher Poulson is accused of killing Emily Almiron and her son, Gabriel. The two disappeared from their Orem apartment in September of 2015.
Poulson said little during the hearing, as the judge read the charges against him. Family members of Almiron believe it is the first step in justice for her and her son.
Prosecutors allege Poulson carried out an extensive plan to cover up the murder of his live-in girlfriend and her son by driving Almiron's car to St. George and abandoning it there. Poulson is also accused of purchasing a shovel, gloves and sheets at the same time Almiron and Gabriel disappeared.
Even without having found the bodies, prosecutors are confident in their case.
"It is like any murder case where we have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt there are deceased persons, and in this case we have to do it with different evidence," said Deputy Utah County Attorney Sam Pead.
Meanwhile, private investigator Jason Jensen, who has been helping the Almiron family as a volunteer since the 28-year-old woman and her son disappeared more than two years ago, is still trying to find answers.
"I did an assessment yesterday planning on a search in the Nebo Loop canyon area,” Jensen said, after seeing in court documents that Poulson's cellphone put him near Payson Canyon at the time the two went missing.
Jensen has wondered if the Nebo Loop could be where their bodies were buried. Now, he has his doubts Poulson could have dug a grave in the timeframe with the rocky ground prevalent in Payson Canyon.
“The terrain is very rocky; it is a high traffic area except for a few isolated locations," Jensen said.
Even without having found the bodies as evidence to prove a murder has occurred, prosecutors say they are confident with other evidence they can still convince a jury to convict Poulson.
"Obviously, if anyone is aware where they might be or saw Mr. Poulson's car in southern Utah County, we would be happy to know about that," Pead said.
Poulson was driving an early 2000s Ford Mustang when Almiron disappeared from her Orem apartment.
While finding the remains of Almiron and Gabriel may not be necessary for a conviction, it's a priority for Jensen to help bring closure to the family.
"We all should hope there is a speedy return and proper burial for Emily and Gabriel, so we are reaffirming the request to the public to assist in this matter,” he said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Orem Police Department at (801)-229-7070.