PROVO – The families of two teenagers who were brutally murdered and thrown in an abandoned mine shaft say they're still waiting for justice to be served.
In January 2018, police started investigating the disappearance of 17-year-old Brelynne "Breezy" Otteson and 18-year-old Riley Powell. Tragically, their bodies were eventually found in a mine shaft in Juab County.
Their accused killer sits behind bars awaiting trial, a trial that has taken much too long to get there, according to Breezy's family.
"Yesterday was the 3-year anniversary of when they were reported missing and when we started our search," said Amanda Hunt, Breezy's aunt.
When Breezy and Riley vanished just days after Christmas, friends and family went looking for them. They searched over 40 abandoned mines in Utah and Juab counties.
Months later, police found their bodies. They both had been bound, stabbed and thrown 100 feet down an abandoned mine shaft.
"It doesn't get easier. I know yesterday I was extremely emotional and I know the fight that we've fought and how far we've come, but we're not there," said Hunt.
The man accused of murdering the teens is Jarrod Baum. He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated murder and could face the death penalty.
Baum's trial is scheduled to start in March, but Hunt claims the defense has been dragging it out.
"It's extremely difficult for me, for all of us, to understand why it's taking so long," she said.
Hunt said the closer they get to trial, the more difficult and emotional it gets. But she said Breezy was a fighter, and now it's her families turn to fight for her.
"The longer it gets, the more I feel like I miss her. I wasn't the closest person with her, but it's through this, through searching for her, through fighting for her," said Hunt. "I didn't even know Riley, and it's like, he's like my own. And I love both of these kids so deeply and this fight for them, that's what matters to me, and we're going to make it happen. We're going to get justice for these kids."
I love both of these kids so deeply and this fight for them, that's what matters to me.
–Amanda Hunt, Breezy’s aunt
Baum's trial is scheduled to begin March 15 and it's expected to last about six months.
The next step is another hearing in mid-January to discuss the death penalty.
Baum's ex-girlfriend, Morgan Henderson, also had a role to play in the crime. She testified from the stand a year after the teen's bodies were found and shared the gruesome details of how they were killed with the court.
She later plead guilty to obstruction charges.