NORTH OGDEN — Dawn Miera knew her daughter, Alexis Rasmussen, hadn’t run away when she went missing Sept. 9.
Rasmussen’s family held a news conference Wednesday in Barker Park to remember the teen and to thank the media and police for their efforts to find her. The body of the 16-year-old was located last week in Morgan County.
Miera said she let others convince her that her daughter had run away, and she said it was the only way she could get through the ordeal.
With Rasmussen’s blonde hair and green eyes, there were lots of sightings, Miera said.
“But I knew she was not a runaway. She didn’t have anything with her.”
Her daughter had run away before, and always called, she said, but not this time.
Miera said her daughter was the kind of girl “who always had to be the center of attention. She joined clubs at school just to hear her voice over the intercom.”
“Lexi” would drive you crazy, Miera said, but make you laugh at the same time.
The family thanked the police for their efforts to find the teen and the media for helping to keep her case in the public eye.
On the night of Sept. 9, Miera said, her daughter was texting her that she was still baby-sitting at the Millerbergs and waiting for them to come home, when she was actually at that moment with Dea Millerberg, who was picking up a prescription at a Layton Walgreens around 10:30 p.m.
“But that’s what kids do,” Miera mused.
Police have Rasmussen on security camera video at the store with Dea Millerberg, Miera said.
That incident is not part of the prescription drug abuse charges that currently have Dea Millerberg in jail. The violations are from incidents earlier this year, according to court documents.
Miera said she was friends with Dea, which is why she let her daughter baby-sit for the Millerbergs.
“She had children. I trusted her. My biggest mistake was expecting her to be like me and other mothers.”
She said she didn’t meet Eric Millerberg until the weekend her daughter didn’t come home.
Eric Millerberg has a long criminal record, including several trips to prison, and is covered with tattoos. Police say he is a member of a dominant prison-based white supremacist gang called Sons of Aryan Warriors.
“I had the most horrible feeling meeting Eric for the first time,” Miera said.
But, she said, “I had no idea they’d be capable of doing something like this.”
She wouldn’t elaborate as to what she knew about the case from the investigation.
Dea Millerberg has no prior convictions in district court, according to court records, and one 2002 misdemeanor drunken driving conviction in a Salt Lake County justice court.
Miera said that, two weeks after her daughter disappeared, she ran into Dea Millerberg while shopping. “She didn’t ask me one question about Lexi.”
“Even if you live in a nice neighborhood, don’t think you’re safe,” Mike Miera said in response to a question about what the family had learned that they could pass on to others. It was among the few questions the family consented to answer.
The news conference was organized by Ron Flamm, a North Ogden City councilman and bishop of the North Ogden 17th Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where the Mieras attend.
Flamm said Rasmussen’s biological father, Kirk Rasmussen, lives in Arizona and has been staying with his parents in Spanish Fork, but did not attend the news conference.