OGDEN -- Alexis Rasmussen died of a drug overdose late Sept. 10 or early Sept. 11 in the home of Eric and Dea Millerberg where she was baby-sitting.
The overdose was not intentional, rather the reckless result of child abuse, Weber County Attorney Dee Smith said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.
After a four-month investigation, Eric Millerberg was charged Tuesday with child abuse homicide and three other felonies in the death of the North Ogden teen.
The other charges are obstructing justice, a second-degree felony, and unlawful sexual activity with a minor and abuse or desecration of a body, which are third-degree felonies.
Police have long considered Eric Millerberg and his wife, Dea, as persons of interest in the case. Dea Millerberg also was charged with desecration of a human body.
Court documents show that Rasmussen, 16, had previously been given drugs as payment for baby-sitting, though Smith declined to say what type of drug killed her or who gave the drugs to her.
Rasmussen was already dead by the time her family notified police on Sept. 11 that she was missing.
Smith said he could not elaborate, because the facts should come out in court.
"(Investigations) take a lot of time. It's not like what you see on TV," he said.
The investigation concluded last week. North Ogden detectives gave Smith three thick files and a compact disc containing all of the information from their months of investigation, interviews and evidence gathering.
The investigation began simply as a missing person case, but police were not working with all of the information that could have been available from the start.
"A lot of people who should have been cooperating didn't," Smith said.
Some children worried about what they had been involved in and were hesitant to talk to the police, and adults were not fully cooperative either, he said.
Smith declined to reveal whether any immunity deals were made with sources in exchange for what insight they could offer, saying only that "information had to be learned, and it was."
On Oct. 18, detectives received a tip that led them to Rasmussen's body in a remote area of Morgan County near the small town of Taggart.
Police executed search warrants at the Millerbergs' home.
One uncovered stained carpet remnants in Eric Millerberg's 1993 Ford Taurus and Dea Millerberg's 2006 Saturn Ion -- carpet that crime scene investigation technicians believed was from their upstairs bedroom, according to the inventory notes in a search warrant.
A police dog trained to sniff out human remains also jumped into the trunk of the Saturn and barked continually, according to court documents.
Both cars were seized.
In the meantime, Eric Millerberg was imprisoned for unrelated parole violations stemming from drug use.
Dea Millerberg also faces drug charges unrelated to the Rasmussen case. She made bail on those charges, and the county attorney's office is working with her attorney regarding the new charges.
Smith expects to see Dea Millerberg in court for the desecration charge next week, though his office is not seeking a warrant for her arrest.
Smith does not expect to file any more charges.
For now, the case moves through the courts, which is where Smith said the rest of the details will come out.
In the meantime, North Ogden Police Chief Polo Afuvai hopes this all helps bring closure to the Rasmussen family.
"It's been a long time for all our folks and especially for the family," he said.
Eric Millerberg's child abuse homicide charge could imprison him for life. His obstruction charge carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
The third-degree felony charges, including Dea's, carry a sentence of up to five years.
A call to a public defender who previously represented Eric Millerberg was not returned Tuesday.
Dea Millerberg has always maintained that she did not kill Rasmussen and "is relieved that we've now reached the point where a charge has been filed," her attorney, Michael Bouwhuis, wrote in a statement.
"She is very sorry about the untimely death of Alexis Rasmussen and sincerely hopes that the Rasmussen family will someday soon find healing and comfort," he wrote.
Dea Millerberg has been drug-free since her arrest and has been working to get the help she needs, Bouwhuis wrote.