OGDEN -- The attorney for Dea Millerberg, one of the suspects in the death of Alexis Rasmussen, said Wednesday he can't say too much about reports of search warrants that seem to say his client had a role in the teen's death.
"The challenge is that, until she's charged with anything in connection with that case, we're not entitled to get anything," said attorney Michael Bouwhuis. "So I am vaguely aware, based on media reports, and when I say vaguely, I mean that. There was either an affidavit or search warrant briefly released."
Bouwhuis represents Dea Millerberg regarding two charges of prescription fraud unrelated to the Rasmussen case. Dea Millerberg is in Weber County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.
She is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Nov. 16 to determine whether she will have a preliminary hearing.
Dea Millerberg is the wife of Eric Millerberg, currently in Utah State Prison on an unrelated probation violation. It was in their North Ogden home that Alexis Rasmussen, 16, was last known to be alive. She was baby-sitting there the night of Sept. 10, but never went home.
Her body was found Oct. 18 in Morgan County. A cause of death has not been determined, pending final results of an autopsy.
On Tuesday, copies of search warrants in the case that were served Oct. 9 on the Millerberg home reached the end of a legally required 20-day sealing. They were released to the Standard-Examiner and one other news organization. The Weber County Attorney's Office then filed to have them sealed again.
Redacted copies of the warrants are posted on the Standard-Examiner's website, www.standard.net.
The warrants contain information to justify to the issuing judge why the warrants are needed. These warrants quote associates of Eric Millerberg saying he approached them about help getting rid of something the last night Rasmussen was seen and "to bring a car and don't ask any questions."
The warrants also involve Dea Millerberg. They say that she and Rasmussen drove to meet a friend of Rasmussen's to sell prescription narcotics on the night of Sept. 10.
Security video from that night at a Walgreens in Layton shows Millerberg and Rasmussen while Millerberg fills a prescription for oxycodone, a powerful narcotic painkiller.
In the warrants, an inmate who was in the same Weber County Jail section as Dea Millerberg is quoted telling police about hearing Dea talk about "something bad has happened and that she, Dea, wants it to blow over and go away."
Bouwhuis said he only knows what he has read and heard in media reports about the warrants. He said that even though the warrants mention his client, she hasn't been charged in the Rasmussen case, so he has no way to test the evidence.
"There's always a concern, especially early on in a case, when you start getting information about what neighbor or friend or acquaintance thinks they know, and you have to wonder, 'Is this information reliable?'aaaa" he said.
With what he called a "media firestorm" going on around the case, Bouwhuis said people may even be unintentionally constructing memories that aren't real.
"Those are things we have to look at down the road," he said. "That's what due process is about, having the opportunity to test the evidence."
But, Bouwhuis said, "the challenge with this story is, it's a big media-type event. But from the legal side, where they haven't filed any charges, you're left to speculate on what's going on."
He said he would "just urge caution on drawing conclusions based on statements."