The Montana Attorney General’s Office is charging a Montana man linked to a previously missing Arizona teenager with two felony counts of sexual abuse of children resulting from child sexual abuse material found on his cell phone, Attorney General Austin Knudsen announced today. The charges were filed under seal last week to help ensure a safe arrest of the defendant.
Agents from the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the Blaine County Sheriff’s Department arrested Edmund Davis, 36, Monday afternoon in Chinook, Montana. The child sex abuse material was found on his cellphone, which was seized when a search warrant was executed in Havre, Mont. earlier this year. Davis is being held in the Hill County Detention Center on a $1 million bond as ordered by state District Court Judge Kaydee Snipes Ruiz.
In July, the Havre Police Department served a search warrant on Davis’s apartment after learning that a woman, who went missing from Glendale, Ariz. as a 14-year-old in 2019, was living there. When she answered the door, officers observed Davis in the kitchen behind her throwing a cellphone into a trash can and placing items on top of the phone as if to hide it.
Dozens of images of suspected child sex abuse material were located on the device, confirmed to belong to Davis. Following their protocols, Glendale Police selected ten images from those found and brought them to medical experts. The review determined the individuals depicted to be under the age of 13, with two images of children under the age of 5.
The phone and other electronic devices found during the search were transferred into the custody of the DCI Computer Forensics Unit in Helena. DCI agents then obtained a separate search warrant for the electronics and identified a known child sexual abuse material photo series and other evidentiary images. The phone contained images of infants and toddlers and other computer-generated or animated content showing children being sexualized.
The first count of sexual abuse of children for knowingly possessing electronic communication images of a child or children under 12 years of age or younger engaged in sexual conduct carries a 100-year prison sentence, 25 of which may not be suspended or deferred. The second count of child abuse can result in imprisonment for life with a minimum sentence of four years.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, child sexual abuse material is any visual that depicts “the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. Not only do these images and videos document victims’ exploitation and abuse, but when these files are shared across the internet, child victims suffer re-victimization each time the image of their sexual abuse is viewed.”
Assistant Attorney General Dan Guzynski is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the Havre Police Department, Glendale (Ariz.) Police Department, and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation.
To read the charging documents, click here.