Steven Koechner was, by all accounts, a respectable young man. He lived in St. George, Utah, was active in church, and had never been in trouble with the law: he hadn’t even gotten so much as a parking ticket. Still, life wasn’t exactly going well for him.
It was December of 2009 and Christmas was rapidly approaching. Despite his seemingly constant money troubles, Steven was making the best of things. On December 11, he decided to take an impromptu holiday road trip…he would not make it home in time for Christmas…
Rough Time of It
30-year-old Steven Koecher was down on his luck. He was basically unemployed, owed back rent to his landlord, had no prospect of a relationship to speak of. Frankly, things were not going particularly well for him. But Steven had a plan.
Hittin’ the Road
Despite his debt, Steven had decided to take what appeared to be a random roadtrip. Perhaps it was a way to clear is head. Perhaps he thought that if he kept going, he might be able to find a new place that he liked enough to make a new life for himself. And so, he hit the road…
Steven drove from his home in St. George, Utah but only made it as far as Henderson, Nevada before he stopped. If he was looking for a new home and a new life, it seemed odd that he would stop at a town that was a little over two hours away. Perhaps he was looking for something there.
Parking the Car
It was close to Christmas time and the wayward 30-year-old still had his car packed with presents. He decided to pull over in a nice residential neighborhood in the Henderson suburbs. He stopped and parked the car at the end of a cul de sac: a dead-end street…
Steven got out of the car, where he was seen by a nearby home security camera. He walked with purpose, holding a small package of some kind under his left arm. He walks past the camera at around 12:00 pm that morning, and was never seen again.
After that brief appearance on camera, Steven Koecher was never seen or heard from again. It was December 13, 2009. His mysterious disappearance raised a number of questions, many of which would only be investigated sometime after his initial disappearance…
The police pinged Steven’s cell phone and found that it had gone dead a little north of the area where his white Chevy sedan was parked. They examined the cameras and saw that he was carrying a package or a manila folder under his arm. What was inside of it, however, remained a mystery.
The White Chevy
Inside the car, authorities uncovered a pile of wrapped Christmas presents which Steven had purchased only a few days earlier. They also found a number of pillows, a few blankets, and Steven’s shaving kit, but no suitcase. What had Steven been up to?
The same authorities were unable to find any evidence of foul play. Indeed, it appeared that Steven had simply vanished into thin air. When asked if he might have been suicidal, Steven’s friends and family made it very plain that he was not and that he was not the type of person to run away from life.
No Clues, No Suspects
Steven’s inexplicable and impromptu 2,100 mile road trip and his subsequent disappearance, baffled authorities. His abandoned car and presents presented no clue as to what he might have come to Henderson looking for. After they had exhausted all other options, police started looking into Steven’s relationships…
Steven’s friend Greg, whom he had met at church, had apparently spoken to the 30-year-old right before he left his car in that cul de sac. According to Greg, they had both been in the same area for separate reasons, but hadn’t bothered to ask each other why during the course of the conversation.
Steven’s other contacts included his boss at the window washing company where he worked part-time, and his landlord. As for his boss, it seemed that he had given Steven $100 right before he vanished. Had it been what he was owed for a job, a personal loan, or something else entirely?
As for Steven’s landlord, well that was another matter entirely. Steven owed a substantial amount of back rent, as such, he was being contacted by the impatient landlord pretty frequently. He even reached out to Steven’s family after his disappearance to try and collect the late rent payment from them as well.
The landlord had called Steven several times on the day he vanished as well: once at 4 in the afternoon, after Steven had abandoned his Chevy; and once the following day, at 6 am in the morning. Did the landlord know something about what had happened to Steven Koecher that the police didn’t?
The information information regarding Steven’s landlord was not discovered by authorities during the initial investigation. But over the years, police and the Koechers received a number of tips about Steven’s whereabouts. Even psychics weighed in. In May of 2015, after news of Steven’s landlord broke, Steven’s community decided to pick up the search once again.
The renewed search took place in the area where Steven left his car and walked away. It had been nearly six years since Steven vanished and his family were thrilled to see so many people volunteering to help locate their son, even after all that time. They decided to comb the nearby hills first…
Comb the Hills
Red Rock Search and Rescue was called in to help. Their theory was that Steven might have walked into the hills near Henderson and gotten lost in the cold, unforgiving wilderness. If that was the case though, the 50 volunteers were very likely looking for a body.
Life Goes On
“Life goes on for everybody else except for us,” says Deanne Koecher “Every day, it’s a part of our lives.” But that doesn’t mean that the Koechers are giving up hope anytime soon. Of course, in the time since Steven’s disappearance they have suffered other tragedies as well…
Steven Koecher’s father, Rolf Koecher, a newspaper editor in northern Utah, had worked tirelessly to find his son. He followed every lead he received and did his best to keep his son’s story in the public eye. Tragically, Rolf Koecher died from a sudden illness about a year after Steven vanished. He would never know what happened to his son.
To this day, there has been no sign of Steven Koecher. There are some allegations that he ran away with another missing person, a woman named Susan Cox Powell, but the evidence to support this is lacking. If he did run away and start a new life, we can only hope that wherever he is, things are going much better for him.