Man Who Denied His Girlfriend Male Friends Allegedly Slaughtered Visiting Teen Couple
EUREKA, UTAH — Police have arrested a Utah man who they say forced a teenage girl to kneel down and watch him fatally beat and stab her boyfriend. Afterward, the man cut the girl’s throat and tossed both bodies down an abandoned mineshaft.
Jerrod William Baum, 41, has been booked on multiple charges related to the disappearance and deaths of Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson, 17, and Riley Powell, her 18-year-old boyfriend. The teenagers were reported missing on January 2, two days after they went to visit Baum’s live-in girlfriend, Morgan Lewis Henderson.
The first crack in the case occurred last week after Henderson got pulled over for speeding and taken in on unrelated charges.
During her interrogation, Henderson directed searchers to the teens’ remains. She also suggested a sick motive for Baum’s homicidal rage: He didn’t want her to have any male visitors. According to Henderson’s arrest papers:
“[Baum] told [Henderson] he had previously instructed her not to have guy friends and that it was too bad because he has never killed an innocent before.”
Police believe Henderson directly witnessed the murders.
According to Henderson, Baum tied up Otteson and Powell, and she went with them to a remote area. She said Baum congratulated the teen couple on their upcoming baby, and then killed them. As Otteson was not pregnant at the time, it’s unknown why he said this.
After leading police to the victim’s bodies, Morgan described the slayings. The probable cause statement reads:
“They went outside and she saw [Powell] and [Otteson] tied up in the back of Riley’s Jeep. Morgan also stated that [Baum] told her to get in the Jeep and that they would go for a ride to have a talk … [Baum] used a knife to kill both [Powell] and [Otteson] and then dumped their bodies in the mine. Then they went back to their home in Mammoth where [Baum] threated [sic] Morgan with a weapon known as a garrote.”
Searchers unearthed the teens’ remains from a barrel at the bottom of the mineshaft last week.
Utah County prosecutor Chad Grunander said he was glad Henderson led them to the discovery, but added:
“We obviously wish she would have come forward earlier. That would have saved additional grief for the family.”
Henderson is in custody on suspicion of obstruction of justice. Grunander added that she may also face additional charges.
Jerrod Baum, who has been arrested numerous times — including for attempted murder — is being held on two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, and two counts of abuse or desecration of a human body. He could face the death penalty if convicted.