Monday, February 1, 2010

Missing Utah man appearing on Las Vegas milk cartons

Steven Koecher was last seen in a neighborhood in Sun City Anthem in Henderson on December 13, 2009. The 30-year old man is from St. George, Utah. Now, thanks to the efforts of Henderson Police and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, his face will appear on milk cartons from Anderson Dairy for the next several weeks.

Henderson police have recently produced this video about Steven Koecher:

In a release emalied to local media, Koecher's mother Deanne Koecher said “We realize it has been many years since Anderson Dairy last did this, and we greatly appreciate their efforts on our behalf. We are hopeful that residents of the Las Vegas area will take notice of the milk cartons and call the police if they spot someone matching Steven’s description. The phone numbers are right on the carton.”

According to the message from Koecher's family, tips have been called in following recent stories. Employees at a restaurant near Flamingo and the Boulder Highway have reported seeing a person matching his description at least three weeks in a row, prompting this parents and extended family members recently to post a vigil at the restaurant for several nights, but the person did not show up.

“We were just grateful that someone took the time to watch for Steven,” said Deanne Koecher. “Several employees told us they’d seen this individual who looked much like Steven, but key descriptions did not match, and one of them even said she felt the mysterious customer was definitely not Steven. It is our opinion that this person looked much like Steven but that it was not him; however, we greatly appreciate the alertness of all the restaurant employees.”

Steven’s parents and extended family members combed nearby restaurants, stores and casinos while they were in Las Vegas last week, but did not find Steven. They even talked with homeless people at Las Vegas area shelters and at a few informal homeless camps around the area.

They spotted at least two young men who looked like Steven from a distance, but upon closer inspection were able to positively establish it was not their son.

“Which points out to us how difficult spotting a specific person can be, but we welcome any tips and appreciate people for trying to help, said Deanne Koecher. “We’ve even been contacted by a number of psychics with theories about his demise. We usually turn these tips over to the Henderson Police They have actually checked some of them out, but haven’t found Steven where they indicated he’d be. Even so, we are appreciative of all those who are trying to help.”

The effort was touched off after Koecher’s car had been found abandoned for four days in the Sun City Anthem area of Henderson last month. After being notified by Henderson police, Koecher’s parents, who live near Salt Lake City, immediately reported him missing and launched a private search of the neighborhoods near the abandoned vehicle. In late December, a wide air and ground search was launched by Henderson Police in tandem with Las Vegas Metro Police.

Henderson police searched in a wide radius around Sun City Anthem for two days, using police dogs and searchers on all-terrain vehicles to examine culverts, drainage basins, ditches, gullies and other rough terrain. Meanwhile, police and volunteer searchers from the Nevada Center for Missing Loved Ones, combed homes and neighborhoods, and a Las Vegas Metro helicopter searched from the air.

“They conducted an all-out effort to find Steven, but so far there hasn’t been a trace of him,” said Rolf Koecher, Steven’s father. “Surveillance cameras caught Koecher leaving his car right at noon on Sunday, Dec. 13, as if heading to an appointment, but he apparently never returned to his car.

According to the family's news release, those closest to Steven know of no alcohol, drug or similar issues, yet he vanished on a bright Sunday morning in an upscale neighborhood. He is well-liked by his many friends and associates, according to leaders of his LDS church congregation in St. George, who describe him as cheerful, the first to volunteer for service projects and always dependable. In addition, his car contained Christmas gifts for his older brother’s family, which he purchased just the evening before he disappeared.

“All this just deepens the mystery,” said Rolf Koecher. “This is a particularly difficult and confusing situation because many clues indicate he was planning to return to St. George on the day he disappeared, and none of the clues point to any particular motive or conclusion. St. George police even reported that their investigation into Steven revealed he had apparently been acting as a Good Samaritan on the Friday before he disappeared, trying to help locate the parents of two young girls accidentally locked out of their home on a cold afternoon.”

Steven’s mother, meanwhile, has expressed the family’s gratitude for the efforts that have been made to find their missing son.

“We are impressed with the intense effort expended by the Henderson and Las Vegas Metro police in finding our son, especially for the tireless work of Det. Robert McKay and his associates. We are even aware that detectives have done additional searches on their own and that a number of Las Vegas area residents whom we don’t even know have organized spontaneous searches on their own volition, as well,” said Deanne Koecher. “We are grateful that Anderson Dairy has now joined in the effort to help solve this mystery, which is very troubling and painful for us, his siblings and extended family members. We welcome any tips or clues the public may provide.”

1 comment:

UMC said...

Has the police tried investigating his phone calls. I believe they can research who he called and who called him during the time he was seen. Maybe there is a phone call to a place where he might have had an interview. The ad could have been a bogus job ad by some deranged person. I believe the police can get that information phone the cell phone company.
I hope he is found safe, alive and well. J.N.