Family of Eco Edmonds Supports Charges Against Michael Depler

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By Hilary LeHew
By Andy Shofstall

BENTON -- A Franklin County man has been indicted by a grand jury in connection with a deadly ATV accident.

Michael Depler, 32, of Valier had a preliminary hearing Wednesday. He was arrested after a crash that killed Eco Edmonds, 26, of Mulkeytown last month.

There have been a lot of questions surrounding Edmonds' death. Depler was absent from a Franklin County courtroom Wednesday when his attorney entered a motion to continue his preliminary hearing, but the family of the victim was there.

They say they've found some relief as officials provided them with answers.

"We're finally getting some information, which is what we've been asking for the whole time," said Edmonds' stepfather Wade Chaplain of Benton.

Authorities believe Edmonds was killed in an ATV crash in the early morning hours of June 28th.

Previous rumors had the family frustrated with a lack of information from officials. "When the doctors came in and mentioned a 4-wheeler wreck, that her injuries were sustained to a 4-wheeler accident, the young lady was screaming that she saw people beat Eco up and that she was placed on the 4-wheeler as a setup," explained Edmonds' Aunt Melissa Wade in an interview on June 29th.

Depler was indicted by a grand jury Friday for aggravated DUI, illegal possession of marijuana and prescription drugs, and multiple charges related to illegally operating an ATV.

Chaplain says he and other family members support the charges. "It's what we have to believe right now. It's calming the family down to believe that and that's what we're trying to do right now," he said.

Chaplain believes other arrests should be made in the case, but he feels better now that the family has some closure.

"Better than we did yes," he insisted. "Answers have been given, you know, that's what we was looking for, and we just want Justice for Eco," he added.

We're told Depler has bonded out of the Franklin County jail. He's scheduled to be in court the morning of August 7th.
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