The Montana Attorney General's Office announced on Tuesday that authorities there will charge 36-year-old Edmund Davis with two felony counts of sexual abuse of children.
The move came after an investigation into the case of missing Arizona teenager Alicia Navarro, who was 14 years old at the time of her disappearance.
Navarro later appeared at a Montana police station in 2023 and told police she had been reported missing in Glendale, Arizona years before, and wanted to "clear her status," Scripps News Billings reported. Navarro was 18 years old at the time of her return.
Police said she appeared to be fine and in good health in the Montana police station. While first interacting with police, she was reportedly in bright spirits and apologetic, worrying about her mother.
Authorities arrested Davis on Monday in Chinook, Montana after inappropriate photos of children under the age of 13 were allegedly found on his phone.
Authorities told Scripps News Phoenix that Navarro was not pictured in any inappropriate images on Davis' phone, from what they could tell amid their initial investigation.
The material was found on Davis' cellphone, the Montana DOJ said. The phone was seized after a search warrant was executed earlier this year.
Davis is being held at a Montana detention center on a $1 million bond, ordered by state District Court Judge Kaydee Snipes Ruiz.
In July, the Havre Police Department served a search warrant on Davis' apartment after learning that Navarro had been living there.
Dozens of images of suspected child sex abuse were located on the device, confirmed to belong to Davis, police said. Following their protocols, Glendale police selected ten images from those found and brought them to medical experts.
A review determined the individuals depicted in the images were under the age of 13, with two images of children under the age of 5, authorities determined.
The phone and other electronic devices found during the search were transferred into the custody of a computer forensics unit in Montana. The phone is said to have 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 according to state law.
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 & Exploited Children, child sexual abuse material is any visual material 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 was assigned to prosecute the case, which was investigated by the Havre Police Department, Glendale Police Department, and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation.
This story was originally published by Scripps News Billings, with additional reporting from Scripps News Phoenix.
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