A year later, Koecher family still seeks missing son

Dec 15 2010 - 1:07pm

Images

Courtesy photo
The family of Steven Koecher gathers around an evergreen in front of their Bountiful home. The lights they have wrapped around the tree will remain there until Steven comes home, or the lights burn out, they say. Steven Koecher disappeared Dec. 13, 2009, at almost exactly noon in the Sun City Anthem area of Henderson, Nev., an upscale retirement community near Las Vegas.
Steven Koecher disappeared Dec. 13, 2009, in Henderson, Nev., while Susan Powell disappeared about the same time. The Powell family has said the two may be linked, but the Koecher family says evidence does not support that claim.
Steven Koecher disappeared Dec. 13, 2009, in Henderson, Nev., while Susan Powell disappeared about the same time. The Powell family has said the two may be linked, but the Koecher family says evidence does not support that claim.
Courtesy photo
The family of Steven Koecher gathers around an evergreen in front of their Bountiful home. The lights they have wrapped around the tree will remain there until Steven comes home, or the lights burn out, they say. Steven Koecher disappeared Dec. 13, 2009, at almost exactly noon in the Sun City Anthem area of Henderson, Nev., an upscale retirement community near Las Vegas.
Steven Koecher disappeared Dec. 13, 2009, in Henderson, Nev., while Susan Powell disappeared about the same time. The Powell family has said the two may be linked, but the Koecher family says evidence does not support that claim.
Steven Koecher disappeared Dec. 13, 2009, in Henderson, Nev., while Susan Powell disappeared about the same time. The Powell family has said the two may be linked, but the Koecher family says evidence does not support that claim.

BOUNTIFUL -- The talk Steven Koecher gave at an LDS sacrament meeting in St. George about a week before his disappearance, his parents say, speaks to what Steven's state of mind was just before he disappeared.

Notes for the speech were recently found by Deanne Koecher, Steven's mother, in her son's Bible as she flipped through it.

"It did not seem to be the mind of someone plotting something criminal or reprehensible," Steven's father, Rolf Koecher, said of the found manuscript that lifted the spirits of the Koecher family at a time when they needed it.

"(Steven) described his home life as being happy, supportive, loving and peaceful," Rolf Koecher said.

Monday was the one-year anniversary of the last time 30-year-old Steven Koecher was seen.

On Dec. 13, 2009, the St. George resident, formerly of Bountiful, disappeared at about noon in the Sun City Anthem area of Henderson, Nev., an upscale retirement community near Las Vegas.

Surveillance video from a home-security camera shows Steven's car arriving at about six minutes to noon and parking in a small cul-de-sac, Rolf Koecher said.

Steven Koecher can be seen walking past the side of the home that has the surveillance camera, turning left on the street in front of the house, then crossing the street and walking out of the camera's view.

It is the surveillance video, along with other evidence gathered in the yearlong investigation of their missing son, Rolf Koecher said, that provides information contrary to what has been posted on a website by Josh Powell and Steve Powell, husband and father-in-law of Susan Powell, a missing West Valley City mother of two.

The website contends the missing woman, who was last seen Dec. 6, 2009, and Steven Koecher fled to Brazil, where Steven served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"The best evidence we have of his disappearance and the week preceding this event does not substantiate the assertions in a recently updated website," Rolf Koecher said in a statement.

"Rather than giving solely our opinions, we'd prefer to focus on actual information uncovered through extensive investigations," he said.

At least 11 items cast doubt about a link between Susan Powell and Steven Koecher, Rolf Koecher said.

This contention was originally brought up by the Powell family about 10 months ago, with police investigators unable to find a link.

West Valley City and St. George Police met to compare phone records, financial records and even records confidential to both investigations.

"They found there has been no mutual contact and no reason to believe there had ever been," Rolf Koecher said of the two missing people.

When Powell's website linked Steven Koecher with Susan Powell's disappearance and the "Today" show recorded a local segment on it, Koecher said, his family felt they needed to respond.

"Our official position is that (the Powells) have their own challenges to deal with," Rolf Koecher said.

In the meantime, the Koecher family -- while waiting for new clues to surface to help solve the mystery of Steven's disappearance -- has decorated an evergreen in the front of their Bountiful home with lights that are to remain on until their son comes home, or the lights burn out.

"What happens is that we get a clue that makes us hopeful, and they all evaporate," Koecher said of the ups and downs the family has experienced with this incident.

On Dec. 3, two sightings were made in Provo of someone resembling Steven Koecher. Family immediately scoured the area of the first sighting but could not find him. However, this individual may have been caught on video surveillance tapes at a Provo area post office on the same day, Rolf Koecher said.

The tapes are being released by the U.S. Postal Service to the St. George police for examination.

"We're trying to stay hopeful," Rolf Koecher said.

However, he said, it is hard to have total hope because the family thinks that after a year if someone had a clue, they would have come forward by now.

"We have felt a lot of support," Rolf Koecher said of family and friends.

And although the support cannot fix the problem, he said it does lift the family's spirits.

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