A Montana man who lived with a teenage girl who disappeared from her Arizona home four years ago pleaded not guilty Monday to child sexual abuse charges brought against him based on images authorities said they found on his cellphone.
Since his arrest on Oct. 23, Edmund Davis, 36, has been held 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 bond reduction hearing after speaking with Davis' father and the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Dan Guzinski.
No other hearings were immediately scheduled.
Authorities have not said whether Davis is a suspect in the September 2019 disappearance of Alicia Navarro. Navarro left behind a note when he disappeared from her home days before her 15th birthday, sparking a massive investigation that included the FBI . He was nearly 19 when he walked into the Havre, Montana, police department in July and said he wanted to be removed from the missing persons list.
While investigating the circumstances that led to Navarro being found in Havre — nearly 1,400 miles (2,253 kilometers) from her childhood home in Glendale, Arizona — police in Arizona obtained warrants they said led to the discovery of images of child sexual abuse in Davis' cellphone, court records say. Some of the images were of infants and toddlers and some were computer generated, according to court records.
Davis is charged with possession of images of a child or children under 12 engaged in actual or simulated sexual conduct, which carries a mandatory sentence of 25 to 100 years in prison. He is also charged with possessing images of sexual abuse of children under the age of 16, which carries a prison sentence of four to 100 years.
Over the years, Navarro's mother, Jessica Nuñez, said her daughter, who was diagnosed with autism, may have been lured in by someone she met online. When she disappeared in 2019, Navarro only took her laptop and cellphone.
Neighbors said Davis had been living with Navarro for at least a year. In July, after her reappearance was made public, an Associated Press reporter spoke to a young woman at the Le Havre apartment who looked and sounded like Navarro but did not give her name and said she wanted to be left 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 search for Navarro through the Miami-based nonprofit Anti-Predator Project, said last month that Navarro was “in a safe place,” without disclosing the details.
Associated Press writer Matthew Brown in Billings, Montana, contributed to this report.