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SPANISH FORK - As snow drifts over their hometown and into the winding canyons of the nearby Wasatch Mountains, Richard and Tamara Davis are running out of patience.
For almost a decade, they have longed to lay their daughter Kiplyn to rest under the granite headstone engraved with only her birth date in a Spanish Fork cemetery. They were hopeful this would be the year: Five men - most of them Kiplyn's former classmates - have been indicted since April for perjury, for allegedly lying during the investigation into the teenager's disappearance and presumed death.
Prosecutors contend more than 20 people in the community have heard stories: Kiplyn was taken up the canyons east of town; into Spanish Fork Canyon or Diamond Fork Canyon; or to the dark tunnels where trains carry coal, freight and passengers through the mountains; or buried somewhere in sand; or moved two years after her death.
But no one has revealed where her body is now as the ground begins to freeze. And "once it snows, things look different," Richard Davis says.
So the Davises are pleading to parents: Talk to your children. Ask them to tell what they know.
"If it were their daughter, what would they want the parents to do? I would try to make it right," Richard Davis said.
The people of Spanish Fork also yearn for the mystery to end, says longtime resident Lil Shepherd, who helps the town celebrate its Icelandic heritage and had sons attending Spanish Fork High School when Kiplyn disappeared.
"There is pain in every direction," Shepherd said. "Kiplyn's family is not at peace. Those who are involved are not at peace. All of Spanish Fork is not at peace."
On May 2, 1995, the last day she was seen by her family, Kiplyn Davis arrived at Spanish Fork High School on downtown's Center Street early for a driver education class. With her 16th birthday two months away, the slim sophomore in a denim vest, jean shorts and white sandals was excited about getting her license.
She also was looking forward to helping with props for an upcoming production of "The Foreigner" with her friends among the school's 40-member drama group.
Just about everything seemed to make the 15-year-old with long, wavy red hair and a silver Mormon "Choose the Right" ring happy.
"She was so kind to everyone, just a fun, bubbly personality," close friend Becca Sivits said. "She loved to laugh. We would giggle for hours."
Former classmate Christopher Neal Jeppson recalls Kiplyn's affection for her friends.
In 2004, about a year before his indictment, Jeppson told an investigating FBI agent: "She had such a big heart, and she would just come up to ya, and say, 'I love you so-and-so,' and she'd . . . hug ya."
Biology teacher Brad Olson said KipÂlyn enjoyed school. Math teacher Mike Gardner, who had her in class the day she went missing, remembers her joy for life.
So when Kiplyn left school after lunch and never returned, just about everyone who knew her rejected the idea that she had run away. One clue: she left her purse holding her makeup in her locker, something a teenage girl like Kiplyn would never do.
"She was cute, prissy and pretty," longtime school secretary Betty Wyman said. "She always had her hair so done up."
Almost immediately, rumors began that something awful had happened. The community became aware that classmates David Rucker Leifson and Timmy Brent Olsen, both seniors who had been in the drama club with Kiplyn, were being investigated and questioned by police.
Peers saw the boys as part of a rougher crowd that hung out in the school parking lot with the big pickup trucks seen everywhere in Spanish Fork. But Wyman and assistant principal Darrel Rolfe remember them as regular teens. Leifson, who used his middle name, was friendly and outgoing, Wyman said.
"They just seemed like typical students to me," said Rolfe, a biology instructor in 1995. "I didn't know them to be troublemakers."
The Olsen and Leifson families are well-respected in Spanish Fork, where those who farm in southern Utah County mingle with those who commute 10 miles north to work in Provo and Orem.
The Leifsons, descendants of the Icelandic settlers who helped create the town incorporated in 1855, had especially close links to the Davises. The two families once attended the same ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Richard Davis went to school with Leifson's father.
Richard Davis, a slender contractor who owns RM Davis Construction and specializes in concrete work, worked on the Leifson home's steps before his daughter disappeared. Leifson and KipÂlyn "ran around" together, remembers Wyman.
After Kiplyn's disappearance and the questioning of their son, Leifson's friendly, outgoing parents lost weight and grew quieter, less involved in community events, said a member of their former ward. The Leifsons declined to be interviewed.
Despite knowing the Police Department's apparent focus, nobody wanted to think any teenagers could be involved in Kiplyn's disappearance.
"They would think, 'No high school kids would murder a classmate,' " said then-student Brandon Gordon. " 'That couldn't happen here in Spanish Fork.' "
The Spanish Fork police had at first treated Kiplyn as a runaway, and residents hoped she would be found. The Davis family, with Kiplyn's older brother Rory and sister Hayley, and younger sister Karissa, were much more worried. The parents circulated missing posters and fliers at the suggestion of Karissa, then 9.
After two weeks, the case became a kidnapping probe, later joined by the FBI. Authorities periodically combed school records for clues, and at least three classmates - Olsen, Leifson and Jeppson - remained under investigation. But the trail was cold.
Since 1990, booming development on the east side has doubled Spanish Fork's population, now 25,000, and stretched the community right up to the mountains. On the west side, builders are now taking neighborhoods out to Interstate 15.
Many residents still stay home to earn their keep, with the Nebo School District the town's largest employer. Spanish Fork High School has gone from roughly 1,300 students in 1995 to 1,700 students today, with added classrooms and a new gym.
Despite the changes, Richard Davis says his family has been comforted by the community. Neighbors joined the family in 1999 to put up Kiplyn's headstone and participated in a day of fasting in her memory. Businesses periodically post Kiplyn's picture, and passers-by flash him the thumbs-up sign.
"It's a wonderful town," he said.
But those close to Leifson and Olsen were seeing something darker, prosecutors contend. Their perjury indictments allege Olsen repeatedly boasted of a role in Kiplyn's disappearance and both men raped women in the years afterwards.
In the summer after Kiplyn vanished, Leifson, Jeppson and others gathered at a friend's house in August to watch movies, prosecutors told a federal grand jury that convened in 2003. Leifson is charged with perjury for denying that he forced a woman to have sex with him after others left.
The following summer, prosecutors say a split between Leifson and Olsen became public on Spanish Fork's historic Main Street, dotted with family-owned restaurants, community storefronts and a handful of horse and tack shops.
Leifson had heard Olsen was telling people that Leifson was involved in KipÂlyn's disappearance, and he angrily stopped Olsen in July 1996, court documents said.
"You were yelling at him at the top of your lungs . . . you had told Tim if there were not any other cars on Main Street that you would kill him. . . . You said something about taking a gun and shooting him right in the head," a prosecutor described the incident to Leifson before the grand jurors.
A female friend with Olsen witnessed that argument, and a male relative of Olsen saw a similar one, prosecutors said.
Leifson told the grand jurors he could not recall either one. But prosecutors say they have him on tape talking about the second confrontation to a witness wearing a wire.
Prosecutor Carlos Esqueda said in court that Leifson has twice "admitted he had committed the ultimate crime," but offered no details about who heard the alleged confessions.
Meanwhile, Olsen allegedly made incriminating statements to more than 20 people over the years.
Called before the grand jury in April, Olsen testified he had last seen Kiplyn two to three months before she disappeared because he had left school. But by then, prosecutors told him, the jurors had heard "a number of sources" say Olsen told them he was at the school with Kiplyn that day and "sluffed" classes with her that afternoon.
Four of Olsen's 20 perjury counts allege he repeatedly gave others this account of her disappearance: He had been up a canyon with Kiplyn and another male; the pair walked away and only the male came back.
One such conversation occurred around 1998, when Olsen threw up in a man's car after a party, prosecutors said before grand jurors.
Police this year searched Spanish Fork's neighboring broad canyons, often thick with traffic headed to Price but few hikers or picnickers, with no success.
Three counts allege Olsen told others he had killed Kiplyn himself. Before the grand jury, prosecutors asked Olsen whether he remembered:
l Bragging to two friends, and others, after playing football that "I know that f------ bitch, I killed her."
l Telling a man, "I took her, I beat her, killed her and disposed of her body."
l Phoning a friend and saying he was coming over because the FBI was "after" him, and admitting, "I did it, I killed her."
Prosecutors also asked Olsen whether he recalled:
l Telling a group talking about KipÂlyn's disappearance, "We all know who did it, we all did it."
l Admitting to someone that Kiplyn was buried in sand.
l Explaining to a young woman, "It was an accident. We didn't mean to. . . . She's cold. She's alone," and adding, "She's up in the train tunnels and they need to go get her."
l Repeatedly telling another young woman he was involved in Kiplyn's disappearance and had been with her when she was killed.
Olsen denied making any of the statements; the perjury charges allege each denial was a lie.
Prosecutors also say Olsen, who has married twice, lied when he denied pushing or throwing his wives. Before the grand jury, Olsen also was asked whether he had once argued with another woman about Kiplyn's disappearance, hitting the woman in her abdomen, pushing her against a wall, then driving her up Spanish Fork Canyon and forcing her to have sex in his truck.
Prosecutors also asked whether Olsen once tried to become sexually aggressive with another woman in Oak City Canyon, and when she rebuffed him, struck her in the head with a flashlight.
He denied each allegation of violence; those denials led to five of his perjury charges.
On the day Kiplyn disappeared, Jeppson - also in the drama club - was setting up the school auditorium for a play, he later told police and the grand jurors.
He has claimed for years that Olsen, with another person, stopped in around 4 p.m., then came back around 7 p.m. or 8 p.m., and the three stayed at the school together until around 11 p.m.
A few months later, Jeppson knocked on the door of the Davises' comfortable brick rambler. Preparing to leave on a mission for his church, he apologized for being mean to Kiplyn, including once handcuffing her to a spiral staircase at school with a pair of prop handcuffs and walking away.
"I was an ass in high school," Jeppson told an investigating FBI agent in 2004, describing the visit. "I felt guilty for the way that I had talked to Kiplyn. . . . It affected me so bad."
His apology was received with anger by the Davises and skepticism by authorities.
Jeppson is charged with lying to grand jurors when he described seeing Olsen and the other man the day Kiplyn vanished. Another count alleges he lied when he denied saying, or hearing someone else say, something about disposing of the girl's body.
In the other two indictments:
l Fellow Spanish Fork High School student Scott Brunson is accused of lying to agents by denying he had been approached about providing a false alibi and saying he never heard anyone talk about Kiplyn's disappearance.
Brunson denied a male had asked him to say they had been shingling a shed together that day. Olsen is accused of lying when he denied asking "Scott" to say they were shingling a shed.
l Garry Von Blackmore, a friend from nearby Salem, is accused of lying by denying ever speaking to anyone about Kiplyn's disappearance. In court, prosecutors said that two years after Kiplyn disappeared, Blackmore and another man asked a friend for help moving a body.
In April, Brunson - living in Spanish Fork, with his wife and two children, and working at a vitamin manufacturing plant - was the first to be arrested. Blackmore, who had moved to Canada, was arrested on an August trip to Salt Lake City during questioning by the FBI.
The next three arrests came in the fall. Olsen was working as a mechanic in Spanish Fork and has been married and divorced twice. Jeppson, of West Jordan, is a divorced father of two who has worked in customer service. Leifson is a Bountiful salesman and father.
U.S. Attorney Paul Warner describes Leifson and Olsen as the "major players." Blackmore and Olsen are jailed; the other three are free pending separate trials in January, although Warner expects plea bargains with some of the men. Last week, Brunson reached a deal and he is scheduled to plead guilty Thursday. The maximum penalty for perjury and making false statements is five years in prison.
Any future kidnapping or homicide charges would have to come from state prosecutors. The Utah County District Attorney's Office will assess what to do after the perjury trials are over.
Warner had re-energized the search for Kiplyn in 2003 after meeting with her parents. He believes "good old-fashioned fear," not loyalty, prompted silence from community members. Davis speculates that younger people didn't want to "be a snitch on their peers."
Spanish Fork residents are shocked the secret of Kiplyn's fate has endured so long. While emphasizing they have no opinion on anyone's possible guilt, some wonder if there was a pact to keep silent.
"I can't get over the fact that someone managed to keep it under wraps for 10 years," Rolfe said. Wyman, his colleague at Spanish Fork High, said, "There were no leaks, nothing. There are a lot of unanswered questions."
For many, one of the biggest is why the police seemed to react so slowly.
"I think all along everyone suspected it was classmates, someone she was close to," former City Council member Sherman Huff said. "There were several names mentioned. Frankly, I don't think law enforcement people were paying a whole lot of attention to it."
LaVerne King, whose daughter was a high school friend of Leifson, Olsen and Jeppson, suspects there are adults who knew then and know now what happened. The idea of a cover-up scares her, she said.
"It's so sad that, whether it was an accident or whatever, they didn't get it out in the beginning," King said. "No matter how bad it was, if only they would have come forward in the beginning."
And Brandon Gordon, who attended Spanish Fork High with Kiplyn and the men, said, "As a community, you sit back and wait for the police to act. And when they haven't done anything, you wonder if it is all speculation and rumors."
A spokesman for the Spanish Fork Police Department declined to comment. Richard Davis says mistakes have been made, but he is thankful for law enforcement's help. Mayor Dale Barney thinks the town's officers are handling the case well.
Kiplyn's disappearance hurt all local citizens, Barney adds. Not only did residents feel the Davises' pain, they felt the fears of a changing world.
"The city stayed affected forever," said Daurie Kindell, a childhood friend of Karissa Davis. "It's just strange that those people are out there. I could have seen them and maybe talked to them."
Among the changes: Parents watch their children closely when they play outside and walk them even short distances to school, Kindell said.
The Davises want their community to see the family of Mark Hacking as an inspiration, noting the relatives of the Salt Lake City man persuaded him to reveal where he had dumped his wife's body after fatally shooting her last year.
"If they have love and respect for their families," Tamara Davis said of anyone involved in Kiplyn's disappearance, "they would confess."
Since the day in 1995 that Kiplyn disappeared from school, 10 blocks away, the porch light at the Davis home has remained on for her.
"If it takes the rest of my life to find Kiplyn," said Richard Davis, "I'll do it."
Cold trail: Police initially treated Kiplyn as a runaway. Although three male classmates were later questioned, the case was never solved. Parents Richard and Tamara Davis say their requests for an investigation by a state grand jury were rejected.
Fresh start: In March 2003, after learning a federal grand jury was probing the case of then-missing 15-year-old Elizabeth Smart of Salt Lake City, the Davises asked to meet with U.S. Attorney Paul Warner. He agreed to convene a grand jury and revive the search for Kiplyn.
Flurry of charges: Just as the 10th anniversary of Kiplyn's disappearance approached, the indictments began. Five men, most former friends of Kiplyn, have been indicted for perjury since April. They are accused of lying about what they have said about her disappearance.
Can you help? Anyone with information on the Kiplyn Davis disappearance should call the Spanish Fork Police Department at 801-798-5070 or the FBI at 801-579-1400.
Then & now:
The men indicted in the Kiplyn Davis investigation
Five men have been indicted this year on charges of perjury and making false statements to authorities investigating the 1995 disappearance of Kiplyn Davis.
David Rucker Leifson 28, Bountiful
Leifson was a close friend of Kiplyn's at Spanish Fork High School and in the school's drama group with her. He is accused of lying when he denied confronting another classmate and drama group member, Timmy Brent Olsen, about rumors circulating a year after Kiplyn's disappearance. Leifson allegedly was angry that Olsen was implicating him.
He also allegedly lied when he denied forcing a friend's girlfriend to have sex with him.
Timmy Brent Olsen
28, Spanish Fork
Olsen is accused of lying when he denied admitting several times that he killed Kiplyn or was with her and another man when she disappeared. He also is accused of perjury for denying ever having raped a woman or being violent with his wives.
Christopher Neal Jeppson
28, West Jordan
Jeppson also was in the drama group, allegedly lied when he said Olsen twice visited him as he spent 12 hours the day of Kiplyn's disappearance preparing the school auditorium for a show. Another count alleges he lied when he denied saying or hearing someone else say something about disposing of the girl's body.
26, Cardston, Alberta, Canada
Blackmore is charged with lying when he said he had never heard a friend say anything about what happened to Kiplyn. In court, a prosecutor alleged Blackmore lied when he said that he and another man never asked a third person for help moving a body two years after the girl disappeared.
28, Spanish Fork
Brunson is accused of lying when he said he had not provided a false alibi for a friend.