http://www.examiner.com/x-34328-Seattle-Headlines-Examiner~y2010m3d1-Missing-30year-old-Steven-Koecher-police-consider-link-consider-Josh-Powells-use-of-rental-carMissing 30-year old Steven Koecher; police consider Josh Powell's use of rental car possible link
March 1, 9:42 AM
Seattle Headlines Examiner
March 1, 2010 - Steven Koecher, an upstanding citizen who served others, who had no criminal or drug-related history, and who seemed happy with his life in St. George, suddenly vanished Dec. 13, 2009 - just six days after Susan Powell disappeared.
Is there a connection between the two cases? It's far-fetched, Steven's family says, but it's worth investigating.
Steven's mother, Deanne Koecher, said the reason they were interested is Susan Powell's case and investigating the possibility the two cases were connected was because of a road trip through Tawilla that Josh Powell, Susan's husband, took at around the time Steven disappeared.
Police in Henderson and St. George are not ruling anything out and consider a possible link between the two cases. They are, in particular, interested in the trip Josh Powell took in a rental car.
She said, "It seems far but we welcome any information sharing."
According to police, Steven was last seen at an upscale retirement community in Las Vegas December 13.
Rolf Koecher, Steven's father, said St. George police detectives indicated to him that Susan's family had asked the department to look for any link between the two cases. He told the Deseret News that while he has personally dismissed the notion his family is open to any investigation.
Shelby Gifford, spokeswoman for Susan Powell's family, told The Deseret News Friday she doesn't know whether the family had made such a request but said it was "possible" as Susan's family has asked West Valley to investigate any cases that may reasonably be related.
Susan Powell, 28, disappeared from her West Valley City home Dec. 6. Her husband was the last person to see her. His story that he took his two young sons on an impromptu camping trip in the middle of the night during sub-freezing temperatures the night his wife disappeared has been largely criticized and disbelieved.
Less than a month after she vanished, Josh packed up their family belongings and moved their two young children, then ages 2 and 4, to his father's home in Puyallup, Wash. Nearly three months after her disappearance Josh remains the only person of interest police call a "missing person's case with suspicious criminal overtones."
Rolf Koecher said, "I personally don't think there's a connection, but Dec. 7 she disappeared and he traveled through that area around that date. There's some speculation that he and Susan Powell took off together."
He elaborated in a written statement to Utah television station KCSG:
"While it appears that Steven is close in age to Susan Powell and was driving through the Salt Lake City area within a day or two of her disappearance, any connection between the two seems entirely coincidental to us. Because we want to remain open to all possibilities, no matter how improbable, we have no issue with an exchange of information between the St. George and West Valley City police departments."
"We would be surprised to think there could be a connection," said Deanne. "We just do not want to rule out anything of interest."
Deanne said that before his disappearance, her son had been in Ruby, Nev., and was in northern Utah Dec. 9 -11 before returning to St. George.
During a news conference Friday in Henderson, Nev., officials announced they have found no evidence the 30-year-old traveled out of the area by bus or plane.
About 40 members of Koecher's family attended the news conference in Henderson City Hall.
Koecher's car was found parked in a Sun City Anthem cul-de-sac, an upscale residential community in Henderson, around noon on Dec. 13, the day he disappeared.
A short time later surveillance video of the area from a nearby home's security camera shows a man believed to be Koecher walking away from the car.
Christmas gifts were found in the vehicle and there was no sign of foul play.
No one has come forward saying they have heard from him since that day.
The day Steven went missing is also the last day he used his cell phone, email, and a debit card. It is not believed he left the country because his passport was found during a search of his St. George home.
"It's been two months," said Koecher's father during a Friday news conference in front of Henderson City Hall.
"There's no smoking gun, and we've got hundreds of clues that tell us what it isn't, but not one that tells us what it is," Rolf Koecher told the Review-Journal.
Rolf and Deanne Koecher, Steven's mother, said that so far, all leads have turned up dry.
FOX 13 News interviewed Deanne and said that Steven was happy in his new life in St. George. He moved there from Bountiful a year ago in hopes of landing a new job.
Steven was a recent University of Utah graduate. Before he disappeared he was working for a window washing company in St. George and seemed happy with his job. He faithfully served his church and mentored kids with the Big Brother Program.
Steven's parents Friday offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to Steven's whereabouts, or the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for his abduction or death.
"We can't believe we can't find him, can't hold him, that we can't tell him how much we love him," Deanna said.
Anyone with information about the disappearance of Susan Powell should contact the West Valley City Police at 801-840-4000.
Anyone with information about the disappearance of Steven Koecher should contact Henderson, NV Police at 702-267-5000 or St George, UT Police at 435-627-4300.