A federal manhunt has been launched for Douglas Joshua Ellerman, who disappeared last week while awaiting sentencing for the 1997 bombing of the Fur Breed-ers Agricultural Cooperative in Sandy.
Ellerman, 19, was reported missing on Tuesday after he failed to check in with his pre-trial services officer. He was last seen at his parents' home in Draper on April 30.In a statement released on Thursday, the U.S. Attorney's Office said it believes Ellerman may have gone into hiding "to avoid sentencing on the charges."
Prosecutors said in January that they were prepared to recommend that Ellerman be sentenced to less than the minimum five years in prison if he cooperated in their continuing investigation of the bombing.
If the plea agreement falls through, Ellerman could face up to 50 years in prison and fines of up to $750,000.
At a hearing on Wednesday, defense attorney Ronald J. Yengich said his client fled after receiving threats from unidentified individuals. Yengich told U.S. District Senior Judge J. Thomas Greene the threats began following news reports that Ellerman was cooperating with investigators.
Greene indicated Ellerman might be able to salvage the plea agreement if he surrenders to authorities soon.
Ellerman admitted in January that he and several other members the Animal Liberation Front constructed and planted the bombs that destroyed the co-op at 8720 S. 700 West.
Anyone with information on Ellerman's whereabouts is asked to contact 1-888-ATF-BOMB, the FBI at 1-801-579-1400, the U.S. Marshal at 1-801-524-5693 or the Salt Lake Metro Gang Unit at 1-801-799-3705.