A Montana man who lived with a teenager who disappeared from his Arizona home four years ago pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of sexually abusing the child. -and against him based on images that authorities say they found on his cellphone.
Since his arrest on Oct. 23, Edmund Davis, 36, has been out on $1 million bail on two felony counts of child sexual abuse. His public defender, Casey Moore, said he will file a motion for a bail reduction hearing after speaking with Davis’ father and the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Dan Guzynski.
No further hearings are immediately scheduled.
Authorities have not said whether Davis is considered a suspect in the September 2019 disappearance of Alicia Navarro. She was nearly 19 when she went to a Havre, Montana, police station in July and said she wanted to be removed from the missing persons list. .
In investigating the circumstances that led Navarro to be in Havre — nearly 1,400 miles (2,253 kilometers) from his childhood home in Glendale, Arizona — Arizona law enforcement officials obtained warrants that said they led to the discovery of images of child sexual abuse on Davis’ cellphone, court records say. Some of the images involved infants and children and others were computer-generated, according to court records.
Davis is charged with possessing images of a child or children under the age of 12 engaged in actual or simulated sexual conduct, which carries a mandatory sentence of 25 to 100 years in prison. He is also accused of possessing images of sexual abuse of children under the age of 16, which carries a penalty of four to 100 years in prison.
Over the years, Navarro’s mother, Jessica Nuñez, said her daughter, who was diagnosed with autism, may have been attracted to someone she met online. When he disappeared in 2019, Navarro just took his laptop and cellphone.
Neighbors said Davis had been living with Navarro for at least a year. In July, after his reappearance was made public, an Associated Press reporter spoke to a young woman in a Havre apartment who looked and sounded like Navarro, but she did not give her name and said he wants to be alone.
The couple moved out of the apartment days after the media reported their location, neighbors told the AP.
Trent Steele, a private investigator who helped Nuñez find Navarro through the Miami-based nonprofit Anti-Predator Project, said last month that Navarro “is in a safe place,” without disclosing details. .
Associated Press writer Matthew Brown in Billings, Montana, contributed to this report.