Edmunds released, transferred to jail

June 29, 2002

A man wanted for questioning about a Utah girl's mysterious disappearance was released from City Hospital on Friday, then immediately arraigned on a charge unrelated to the kidnapping case.

Berkeley County Magistrate Carlton DeHaven arraigned Bret Michael Edmunds, 26, on one count of being a fugitive from justice and set bail at $100,000.

Edmunds was then taken to the Eastern Regional Jail near Martinsburg, where he remained Friday night.

Salt Lake City Police Department Sgt. Fred Louis said the Utah Department of Corrections' Adult Probation and Parole division will send someone to Martinsburg to get Edmunds, who is accused of violating his probation, but Louis didn't know when that would happen.


Edmunds could choose to fight extradition.

Authorities in Utah wanted to talk to Edmunds about the June 5 disappearance of Elizabeth Smart, 14, from her Salt Lake City home at gunpoint, but they couldn't find him until he turned up in Martinsburg.

Edmunds checked himself into City Hospital under an alias on June 20. The next day, the hospital's intensive care unit staff was skeptical about his identity and called the FBI, who interviewed him and determined he was Edmunds.

Authorities seized his Saturn automobile in the parking lot. After Edmunds gave them permission to search the car, police found a stolen Washington state license plate, bank statements, a map and miscellaneous items.

While Edmunds was a patient, hospital spokeswoman Teresa McCabe said patient confidentiality prohibited her from saying what his illness was. On Friday, Louis said, "It was a liver problem."

He didn't know if it was connected to drug use, as mentioned in some media reports, but he said Salt Lake City Police know Edmunds has used drugs in the past.

Edmunds was in serious condition when he checked in to the hospital and for a few days afterwards. His condition was upgraded to fair on Tuesday and to good on Thursday.

"He appeared to be physically in good shape," DeHaven said after Friday's 25-minute arraignment. "He was of clear mind. He understood all the proceedings."

Louis said Edmunds is not a suspect in Smart's disappearance and was cooperative during interviews with authorities while he was hospitalized.

Police believe Edmunds fled Utah to get "as far away" as he could from the investigation because of the warrants for his arrest, Louis said.

A federal warrant also was issued against Edmunds for unlawful flight, but it was withdrawn when he was found in Martinsburg.

The Utah charges stem from a July 2000 conviction on one count of felony burglary and one count of felony forgery. The following month, he was sentenced to serve time in a state prison, but the sentence was stayed and he was put on probation, according to Utah court records.

The conditions of his probation were that he serve 60 days in jail, complete a substance abuse treatment program and pay restitution of almost $3,000.

An Adult Probation and Parole report stated that Edmunds served the jail time, but paid only a fraction of the restitution and violated other conditions of his probation.

On an affidavit requesting a public defender, Edmunds listed his total assets as $200 and his car. Under total expenses, he listed a $218 monthly car payment.

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