Orem police say in 2015, a Smithfield man murdered his girlfriend and her 3-year-old son, wrapped their bodies in bed sheets and disposed of them before abandoning her car and other belongings several hours away.
Christopher Richard Poulson, 28, was charged last week in 4th District Court with two counts of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony.
After two full years of investigation, police obtained a warrant seeking Poulson’s arrest, and officials say he was taken into custody in Hawaii over the weekend.
According to a probable cause statement filed in court, Emily Almiron, 23, disappeared on or about Sept. 8 after he apparently ended their relationship.
The two had been dating for more than a year and had been living together, with her toddler, for about six months.
Poulson reportedly told police they broke up Sept. 8 after he confronted her about her use of methamphetamines, and he didn’t see her again until Sept. 11, when she returned to their apartment to gather some of her things.
The breakup reportedly centered around her continued use of drugs, which Poulson said he did not want around him.
According to the probable cause statement, police say they learned he was actively buying, using and selling drugs at the time.
“His dishonesty hindered the investigation and his credibility was brought into question, being the last person to have contact with Emily and Gabriel,” the court record states. “It also left the question of what really happened to Emily and Gabriel if he was being untruthful in his statements.”
Police continued to investigate the disappearance of Emily and her son and eventually uncovered information that Poulson had paid cash for a shuttle service to drive him from St. George back to Utah County on Sept. 11, under the assumed name of “Rich Olsen.”
In April 2016, Almiron’s car was found in St. George in a parking lot not far from I-15 near the Dixie State College campus.
The court record states the the red Toyota Prius contained white garbage bags of clothing for both a female and a male child, a car seat, purse, hair-styling tools, a check stub from April 2015 belonging to Chris Paulson, keys to the vehicle and more.
“When the vehicle was located, the keys were inside and the windows were cracked, allowing anyone who wished to steal the vehicle to do so, It did not appear the vehicle had been moved in some time as it was filled with dirt and debris,” the affidavit reads. “The items located in the garbage bags appeared to be clothing thrown together at the last moment, not put together as someone was packing to move from one residence to another.”
The child’s car seat also remained inside the car.
Police seeking Poulson’s arrest went on to detail the search of a vehicle and the resulting positive alert by a cadaver dog, a carpet cleaner rental, and a number of text messages from both Poulson’s phone and Almiron’s phone, after her disappearance.
They scoured internet searches for both, allowing them to establish an electronic trail leading from Orem to St. George and back again from Sept. 8 to 11 — the days immediately preceding the day she was reported missing.
That information indicated Poulson had been planning the breakup for days and was looking at apartments listed for rent.
This year, police were able to obtain Walmart purchase transactions in which Poulson purchased neoprene gloves and bed sheets on one occasion, and a shovel and gloves on another occasion.
And, the document states, Poulson began searching the internet for news reports in both Utah County and the St. George region Sept. 13, the day after Almiron was reported missing.
FBI agents came to Logan in August and contacted Poulson at Chuck-A-Rama, where he was working at the time. He reportedly went with them to a local hotel where the agents presented him with several of the findings from their investigation.
Poulson answered a few questions but then clammed up, repeatedly saying he was unable to help them.
“(Poulson) left the hotel and walked to a tree and lay under it for about 15 minutes before walking to the bus,” the affidavit states.
Orem police say a few days later, Poulson apparently moved to Hawaii.
A few weeks later, they say, a female friend questioned his involvement in Almiron’s 2015 disappearance and his own sudden disappearance after his interview with the FBI. He reportedly told her he had always wanted to live the island life.
While Poulson has reportedly been arrested, he must go before a judge in Hawaii before he is extradited to Utah County to appear in court there.