With a population of around 700 people, Eureka is one of those sleepy little towns where nothing ever happens. But now, it has been shaken to the core.
Around five miles south of the town, remains of a young woman and her three-year-old boy have been discovered. The authorities believe that Emily Quijano Almiron and her son Gabriel were killed by her boyfriend, Christopher Poulson, since he confessed and helped them find the bodies.
The remains were dug up in the Utah desert; they had been buried there for four years.
On Monday, the Orem police confirmed to the media that Paulson confessed to his crime about a month ago. He said that, upon fatally injuring the toddler, he panicked, grabbed a gun and shot his girlfriend to death in her sleep. He then proceeded to take them out to the desert and bury their bodies.
As all this occurred in 2015, the now 30-year-old Poulson couldn’t remember exactly where he took the pair to be buried. This is why he went out to the desert with prosecutors starting August, and that’s why it took a month to locate the remains. Upon confession, Poulson asked for a plea because he agreed to help the police locate his victims’ bodies.
The whole community is shocked and disconcerted, the town’s mayor included.
Mayor Castleton of Eureka was out on an ATV tour south of town when he saw something unusual around noon time. He drove up past the abandoned mines around noon and saw trucks, tents, and people wearing FBI-embossed shirts.
He initially thought he’d stumbled upon a movie set, but then that the FBI truck seemed too real to be a prop. It quickly dawned on him that it was a crime scene.
An FBI spokeswoman confirmed that they were helping out the Orem Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office of Juab County with the investigation. Later that evening, Castleton returned to the site and noted that, beneath a cedar tree, was a ditch.
Castleton recalls realizing that yes, indeed, he was looking at a gravesite. The sage bushes around the ditch had been cleared, he noted, and the ground had been sifted for clues. He felt the need to visit it again the next day, only to find that somebody had placed flowers on the site.
The preliminary findings pointed to the remains being that of the missing mother and son, Lieutenant Colledge of the Orem Police Department confirmed. The Medical Examiner had run the necessary tests, and those were the results.
No one knows what exactly spurred Poulson to confess now, after all this time. But on August 6, 2019, he pled guilty to a first-degree murder as well as second-degree manslaughter. Originally from Cache County, Smithfield-born Poulson professed that he was on methamphetamine while babysitting in 2015. He had also consumed alcohol, and he doesn’t remember how he injured the toddler that fateful evening of September 8. He recalls he put the boy to bed thereafter, and when he came to check on him, the toddler had expired. Not being able to face his girlfriend upon having accidentally killed her son, he shot her as well, in her sleep.
Judge R. Lunnen was the one that agreed to a plea bargain, as Poulsen agreed to help the authorities find the bodies. This is because the plea consisted of Poulson admitting to 30 second-degree felonies, 28 of which are linked to obstructing justice. The other two — one for murder, the other for manslaughter — would also be tried as second-degree counts.
However, the judge said the month prior that he couldn’t honor the deal, after all, because the evidence didn’t seem to fully support the Poulson’s story.
The authorities expressed that they hadn’t focused their investigation on Poulson years ago, but eventually, they suspected foul play on his part. Once they were sure, they arrested Poulson, who was in Hawaii at the time. Prosecutors believed he moved there right after investigators from the FBI spoke to him again about the case.
Family members of the slain woman spoke out and described her as a happy person, who would play guitar and sing in her spare time. They felt, however, that she made some unfortunate choices and fell into a bad crowd, and this ultimately led to her untimely demise.
Lieutenant Colledge expressed his deep condolences to the family of the woman and child. He expressed in a statement that he hoped the efforts of the authorities had at least brought some closure and peace to their loved ones.
It was Emily’s ex-husband who reported her missing and had told the authorities that the pair broke up four days prior. It would seem they had gotten back together in the meantime after which the dreadful event transpired.
Investigators retraced Poulson’s steps and found out that he had purchased work gloves and a shovel at a Walmart in Springfield one day after that breakup. They also tracked his smartphone and found he had gone to Orem and stopped at two dumpsters that day as well. Finally, the authorities found Poulson had taken Emily’s car, a Toyota Prius, all the way to southern Utah and abandoned it there.
The bodies were left near the abandoned mine shafts that saw a similar and equally gruesome gravesite two years ago. The bodies of two teenagers were discovered close to this site in 2017, and the suspect for those murders is awaiting conviction. He might even face the death penalty. Mayor Castleton commented on those little roads that are scattered around the Utah Desert as being good hiding places for those who have something to hide. They don’t get a lot of traffic, so it’s no wonder murderers leave their victims out there.
Poulson faces a minimum of 16 years in prison or even life. He is to receive his sentencing on September 26.