Autopsy will be key in investigation into teen's death

Published: Monday, Oct. 24 2011 10:21 p.m. MDT

The body of Alexis Rasmussen was found Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, in Morgan County. Alexis had been missing since Sept. 10, 2011.

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NORTH OGDEN — Weber County Attorney Dee Smith said Monday that any possible charges in connection with the death of Alexis Rasmussen were likely weeks away.

As the investigation by police continues, Smith said a key element will be waiting for the full autopsy report on the formerly missing 16-year-old girl to be completed.

"It's something that will be critical to the evaluation," Smith said.

Smith did call the case a "homicide" on Monday. Even though no arrests have been made in connection to Alexis' death, he said the public should not be worried about a killer still on the loose.

"There is a suspect in the case. That person is not a threat to the community. He is not a threat at this time to do any additional harm," Smith said.

Smith later clarified and said there were multiple suspects, but did not say why he believed the person, or people, was no longer a threat.

Rasmussen was last seen Sept. 10. The night of her disappearance, she was baby-sitting for Eric and Dea Millerberg.

Both of the Millerbergs were arrested after Alexis disappeared on unrelated drug charges. Dea Millerberg is facing two charges of falsely obtaining/dispersing a prescription, a third-degree felony. A preliminary hearing in her case has been scheduled for Wednesday.

Eric Millerberg will be sentenced for a parole violation stemming from an earlier conviction of forgery and unlawful use of an ATM card charges on Tuesday.

The couple's home has been searched several times by authorities, but officials aren't saying if all of the searches were for the drug cases or investigation into Alexis' disappearance.

Rasmussen's body was found last week in Morgan County after a confidential informant gave police a key tip. Over the weekend, North Ogden police announced that dental records and fingerprints had confirmed the body was that of Rasmussen.

Monday, Smith gave a little more detail on the discovery of the body, saying it was approximately a mile off the Taggart exit in Morgan County.

"It was off the road a little ways. It was in an area you could drive to," Smith said. "Any type of vehicle could get there."

It was near the river, "but on the other side of the road from the river," he said.

"It's possible it could have been discovered by someone stumbling on it, but probably unlikely," Smith said.

Smith declined to say if the body was found above ground or in a shallow grave. He said it appeared her body had been in that location for some time.

He also could not talk Monday about a possible cause of death. Until the autopsy results are returned, Smith said his office would not be able to make any decisions. But he felt confident there would be charges.

"We know enough information already that we will be able to bring charges," he said.

One of the tasks still left for investigators was putting together a sequence of events of Alexis' final hours. At some point during the night she was with other teenage friends, Smith said. But they were not connected to her disappearance, he said.

Smith said the only advice he had for other high school students was to be careful with who they associate with.

While the police investigation continues, Alexis' family is preparing for her funeral.

Monday, the "Bring Alexis Home" Facebook page announced a fund had been established to help the family pay for funeral and other expenses.

"Our family has endured a catastrophe, one that has changed each of us in ways that are far beyond words," Alexis' family said in an online statement. "Life will never be the same. Now sadly we mourn for the loss of our baby girl, as a family we will slowly try to heal, knowing we will never fully recover."

A blog, called Angels for Alexis, was also set up by family members for friends and relatives to leave stories and other memories about Alexis.

The girl's funeral has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the North Ogden Stake Center located at 626 E. 2600 North.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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