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Porchlight

An invisible threat, a dangerous but unseen entity. Something surprising or even shocking that changes the course of one’s life. Political power, with the country unaware of what is yet to come. A cancer that creeps into the body of an individual, some may not know until it is too late. This story highlights just that. A missing teen and multiple invisible threats no one would have expected but were hiding in plain sight. A threat that still lingers in the community she was taken from.


Kiplyn Davis, forever 15

First, I would like to thank Karissa, sister of Kiplyn Davis. Karissa detailed her sister’s disappearance and highlighted the hurt her family still continues to feel. Although they have some answers, they do not have them all and Karissa is steadfast in her fight to bring her sister, Kiplyn, home.


Kiplyn was born on July 1, 1979, to parents Richard and Tamara Davis in Utah. Kiplyn was the third of four children. She had an older brother Rory, an older sister Hayley and a younger sister Karissa. Rory and Hayley were considerably older than Kiplyn and Karissa. Kiplyn and Karissa had a six-year age gap, but Karissa looked up to her older sister. Growing up in Spanish Fork in a Mormon household that emphasized a close-knit family. The Davis family attended church regularly and the children participated in various activities. Kiplyn was an amazing older sister that always brought Karissa around to almost everything she did. Kiplyn was friendly and kind to any and every one she met. Soft spoken but not shy to make new friends in the community. She often invited neighborhood kids to different events in hopes of adding to her friend circle. She enjoyed babysitting children and would frequently babysit Karissa. Karissa recalls her being a fun babysitter that was always hands-on and created fun things to do. These memories Karissa holds close to her heart.


Kiplyn and her siblings

In 1995 Kiplyn was a sophomore at Spanish Fork High School. Kiplyn was a good student and as a typical teen-age girl, a social butterfly. Although she academically did well her favorite part of any day was being able to socialize with her peers. Kiplyn had many friends and even participated in the schools’ drama club. This club is where she met and gained friendship from senior Christopher Jeppson. Chris was not a part of the club but was a handyman for stage set-up. Chris would often be found in the schools’ auditorium helping with lighting and props before, during and after with set breakdown.


Christopher Jeppson

On May 2, 1995, Kiplyn’s alarm blared at 4:30AM. This morning, she had to wake up particularly early to attend her driving class. Like any teen she very much wanted to sleep in and hit that snooze button, over and over. A short time later Kiplyn’s father realized she was not awake yet. Richard went into her room to wake her up, he did not want her to be late for one of these classes as they were important. Kiplyn, not fully awake, just wanted to stay in bed and asked her father to allow her to skip this one class. Richard explained the importance of attending and advised her to get up and start getting ready. Kiplyn was annoyed but did get up, only to quickly realize she did not have much time to get ready. A young girl always needs an ample amount of time to do her makeup and to make sure the hair is perfect; time was not on Kiplyn’s side that morning. Frustrated, she got into the car with her mother as she drove Kiplyn to school. During the ride over Kiplyn’s mother could tell she was upset but she quickly dried her tears and was ready to take on the day by the time she arrived at school. (Note: I did not realize this until I asked but the driving class was located inside the High School Kiplyn attended. Therefore, she did not have to go to two locations that morning). Kiplyn got out of her mother’s car and walked towards the entrance of Spanish Fork High as she did many times, but this day would turn out different, anything like the many times she was dropped off before.


Spanish Fork High School where Kiplyn was a sophomore.

Kiplyn attended her driver’s class as well as her first three periods. By fourth period Kiplyn was unexpectedly absent. By fifth period the schools’ office was made aware of Kiplyn’s absence and phoned her home. With no answer they left a message informing her parents Kiplyn was indeed absent. Kiplyn’s parents were at their respective jobs and did not get this phone call until much later. The rest of the school day continued as normal, without any sign of Kiplyn Davis.



Kiplyn’s disappearance was initially treated as a runaway case by the authorities. This was due to the fact that she had argued with her parents so shortly before she vanished. However, according to her parents it was considered out of character for her. Two weeks after she was last seen police made a public plea to help find Kiplyn. Once months began to pass without Kiplyn returning and no clues as to her whereabouts emerged law enforcement began to suspect foul play was involved in her case. Kiplyn’s family suspected something was amiss all along. Her parents knew it was not in her character to disappear despite the small disagreement she had that morning with her father. Karissa recalls being terrified. She shared a room with her sister and although she was not privy to the unfolding events due to her age, Karissa knew something was not right. “She was just gone, and I remember being scared, like is she coming back?”.


Original flyer provided by The Polly Klaas Foundation

On the evening of May 2, 1995, the day Kiplyn vanished three boys, Timmy Brent Olsen, Christopher Neal Jeppson and David Rucker Leifson claimed to be in the school auditorium. Chris admitted to being with Kiplyn during lunch period in the auditorium. Kiplyn was keeping him company and talking about the upcoming drama play. A short time later Kiplyn left, and Chris assumed she was returning to classes. Kiplyn was never seen after Chris interacted with her. Later that evening all three boys stated they were in the auditorium hanging lights and joking around. Leaving all three with an alibi. It was during this same night Kiplyn’s father Richard went to Chris’s home to inquire about his daughter. Chris’s sister answered the door and said he was at the High School helping set up for a drama play. Richard left the home and drove straight to the school but there was no sign of anyone there. No cars, no people and all doors were locked. Richard had no choice but to return home and hope his daughter was really just out somewhere and she would be back. For days, weeks, months and years Kiplyn seemingly vanished without a trace. However, rumors were swirling about what happened to the teen. Rumors that involved all three boys, but were they truly rumors or true accounts about what really occurred that day. For many years all three boys bragged about knowing what happened to Kiplyn, gruesome tales of what transpired that day but there was no evidence according to the police.


Kiplyn's parents, Richard and Tamara Davis.


Timmy Olsen


Rucker Leifson

In 2003, came revived hope into Kiplyn’s disappearance and in 2005 indictments were finally made in Kiplyn’s case. It had come to light that there had been a community choir performing in the auditorium on the night leaving no room for the boys’ alibis. Timmy was charged with fifteen counts of lying to a grand jury. Chris was charged with perjury before a grand jury and making false statements. Rucker was charged with perjury. Timmy and Chris were also both charged with Kiplyn’s presumed murder. However, Chris reached a plea deal with prosecutors in May 2009, but before the trial Chris decided to plead no contest to obstruction of justice. He signed an affidavit claiming to not be involved in Kiplyn’s abduction and that he does not know what happened to her. In February 2011, Timmy pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter a month before he was due to be tried for Kiplyn’s murder. Through his attorney, Timmy claimed that he had witnessed an unknown person hit Kiplyn twice in the head with a softball sized rock, killing her. Timmy and this individual then hid her body under some trees in the Spanish Fork Canyon that night before transferring it to another unspecified location. To this day, Timmy has refused to give up the identity of the other individual. Kiplyn’s father, Richard offered to advocate for him in exchange for the location of his daughter’s body, but Timmy refused to tell him. In 2021 Timmy was up for parole but was ultimately denied. Timmy Olsen will be released from prison in 2026. Christopher and Rucker, while out of prison only serving little time for their charges, are out walking free never revealing anything they may know. The possibilities of where Kiplyn’s body remains endless.


Karissa paying a visit to her sister's memorial (2022)

Four years after she vanished, Kiplyn’s family held a memorial service in her honor and placed a marker for her in the Spanish Fork Cemetery. Gov. Spencer Cox signed it into law that addresses cases like this one. The law now states that people convicted of homicide cannot be eligible for parole unless they have “cooperated in the recovery of the victim's remains.” Richard Davis testified before lawmakers to help get the bill passed. There is also a permanent plague for Kiplyn inside Spanish Fork High School in remembrance of her. In 2018 Mayor Steve Leifson made a declaration, declaring May 2 be known as Kiplyn's Day throughout Spanish Fork.


Memorial at Spanish Fork High School in honor of Kiplyn Davis


Declaration for Kiplyn's Day

What happened to Kiplyn Davis on the afternoon of May 2, 1995? She was last seen at Spanish Fork High School. While we may have some answers, those are not enough to bring Kiplyn home. Despite everything the Davis family has faith that one day she will be uncovered and laid to rest properly, the one thing they have wanted above all else. It is unlikely Timmy, Christopher or Rucker will ever reveal the missing piece, but it is clear throughout the decades that they may have told someone where she is exactly. It is clear someone holds the key to bring Kiplyn home to her family. Until then Kiplyn’s family will not give up and will hold out hope, keeping the porchlight on for her return.


Consider joining the Facebook page for Kiplyn, maintained by Karissa.

On May 2, help raising awareness by wearing Blue in Kiplyn's name and post to her Facebook page, using the hashtag #RememberingKiplynDavis

Download the flyer, courtesy of The Polly Klass Foundation:


Additional links and articles:





 

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Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

I'm so glad that someone finally reached out to the family to get the real story. ❤

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