SPANISH FORK, Utah (ABC 4 News) – "It just blows me away that she’s been gone as long as she was alive.”
Richard Davis’s remark at the beginning of a rare interview with ABC 4 startled his wife, Tamara.
“Oh my gosh! If you put it that way, it seems like so long. I’ve never thought about it that way.”
The brief exchange revealed the parents of Kiplyn Davis -- the fifteen year-old girl who went missing fifteen years ago this week – have never talked about the significance of this day.
As they observe fifteen years since the search began for their daughter, they now say they believe this year they’ll find justice, and maybe Kiplyn’s remains.
It was May 2, 1995. The Spanish Fork High School sophomore didn’t come home from school. Her parents started making phone calls. Neighbors and the parents of Kiplyn’s friends spread the word. The next day, May 3, 2010, the search was on. Richard Davis says he had a sickening feeling the worst had happened.
"I didn’t sleep or eat for four or five days because I figured if Kiplyn wasn’t, I wasn’t going to either,” he says.
The day after her disappearance, Davis says he knew his daughter had died.
"I knew she was gone,” he says. “I wasn’t like Ed Smart who said he had a feeling Elizabeth was still alive. I knew my Kiplyn was gone. I went to see my daughter, Hayley, who was working part-time at a convenience store and going to school, and I said, ‘Kiplyn’s gone.’ and I cried on her shoulder.”
Davis’s brow furrowed and he cried again as he relived the moment.
Kiplyn’s mother, Tamara, says as the years went by, one thing stuck in her mind.
"It’s just so hard to not know, ”she says. “
And then she spoke the question she has undoubtedly uttered thousands of times.
“How did she die?”
“I think any parent who has lost a child just knows it leaves a hole in your heart,” she says.
The Davises haven’t sat still and wondered all these years. This is a family that has taken action - first, pushing Spanish Fork police to investigate their daughter’s disappearance as a criminal case, and then begging the federal prosecutor’s office to file charges, empanel a grand jury and investigate the three suspects.
Timmy Olsen, the main suspect, wasconvicted of perjury when a grand jury concluded he lied during their investigation. He now faces homicide charges in state court. After years of delays, a trial is still not set.
Two others, Christopher Jeppson and Rucker Leifson, were convicted of obstructing justice for lying to the same grand jury about what they knew.
Sources close to the case tell ABC 4 they are confident prosecutors can prove it was Olsen who drove Kiplyn to a remote place that day, where he met Jeppson and Leifson and where the three raped the girl, then killed her.
It is what these three men know that the Davis family wants more than anything – the whereabouts of their daughter’s remains.
"I'm not going to give up until I bring that body and put it underneath that memorial,” he said, referring to the grave site the family has already set up, with no death date inscribed on the headstone.
“I will never give up. I just won’t do it,” he says. “Until my dying day, I won’t give up.”