Thread: Amy Bechtel
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Old 06-30-2014, 03:26 AM   #66
wonderwall
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This case is one I would really love getting an update on some day. I re-watched the Disappeared episode recently, and it made me think more about the case in general. If I had to make a guess, I really don't think Steve had anything to do with Amy's disappearance. I feel like the neighbor's alibi for Steve is pretty solid (he has never reneged it to my knowledge). And although I do not blame Amy's family for having seemingly negative feelings towards Steve (at least that is how it seemed on Disappeared), I think a lot of the guilt attributed towards him was him was a result of him trying to protect himself as well (not taking a lie detecter test, etc.). However, I would be very interested in knowing if there is more to it than what we know. If you look at the (dated) article below, Amy's family (the Wroes) are split: brother thinks he did it and brought the theory up first; Mom is not accusing him but not dismissing him; And the sister (sisters?) has not voiced an opinion either way, but the brother's quote alludes to that she have never implicated or accused Steve. And the Bechtels and Wroes are not friendly.

I also did some internet searching, and it seems as though Steve has remained in Lander and has built a successful climbing gym (http://lmntl.net/), and is remarried to a woman who is a coach at the gym. Didn't want to be too nosy in terms of actually posting it as she is not at all involved in the case, but if you google his wife's name, you can find a lengthy interview she did on her life and climbing. As I see her and Amy, Steve definitely has a type!

It may seem naive of me, but the way he stayed in such a small town, has been successful, and has remarried a seemingly smart and alert individual gives weight to my opinion that he did not have anything to do with Amy's disappearance. I think, if he were guilty, he would have left Lander, or at the very least, he wouldn't have community support behind him that he seems to have. I do think it is interesting/a bit peculiar that, as of 2005, he and his wife were living in the house Steve and Amy purchased together.

See article below (highlighted the stuff I found interesting)
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Few answers in 1997 disappearance
Runner's family irked at husband; others defend him

By Joe Garner, Rocky Mountain News
July 23, 2005

One indisputable fact is that Amy Wroe Bechtel disappeared July 24, 1997.

Eight years ago Sunday, she was last seen in Lander, the central Wyoming town where she had moved with Steven Bechtel, her husband of 13 months, to join a community of ardent high- country athletes. Wearing black shorts and running shoes, she stopped at an art gallery about 2:30 p.m. to discuss matting one of her photographs.

And then the 24-year-old, petite, blond Olympic marathon hopeful vanished.

Steven Bechtel, a rock-climber who is now 35, refused to be interviewed by investigators after he felt initial questioning turned accusatorial. He also refused to take a lie-detector test on the advice of his lawyer. He did not return calls from the Rocky Mountain News to be interviewed for this story.

His refusal to cooperate with authorities frustrates the Wroe family, who accuse him of being selfish, even heartless, not to tell what he knows.

"The way Steve is not helping points to Steve, but it doesn't rule out the possibility that it also could be someone else," said JoAnne Wroe, 63, mother of the missing woman.

"I do not know if Steve had anything to do with Amy's disappearance," she said.
"However, Steve is the one who could be most helpful if he would sit down and talk about Amy's last hours, days and weeks."

The ties between the Wroe and Bechtel families have long since unraveled in grief, anger and disillusionment. The Wroes never have held a memorial service for their daughter and sister, while Steve Bechtel had his wife declared legally dead last year and then remarried.

To the FBI and the Fremont County Sheriff's Department, the case remains as active today as the night when Steve Bechtel reported his wife had not come home from a run.

"In my opinion, Steve was the only suspect when she disappeared, and Steve is the only suspect now," former Sheriff Larry Mathews said. "There are no other suspects who had the motive or the opportunity."

Defenders are confident

But Steve Bechtel has a cadre of defenders, beginning with Marit Fischer, 33, a former Denver woman who met him in Lander on the Labor Day weekend after Amy vanished. Introduced through friends, Fischer and Steve Bechtel gradually began a relationship that lasted on and off for six years.

"I am absolutely 100 percent confident that Steve had nothing to do with Amy's disappearance," said Fischer, a triathlete who relocated from Lander to Salt Lake City to resume her career in writing and public relations after they separated.

In public, "Steve needed to stay positive and upbeat," she said. But, in private, "he was carrying the weight of her loss on his shoulders and trying to keep up the search for her," which soon moved from the Shoshone National Forest, where she may have gone running, to computer screens that tracked countless leads to nil.

"The fact that we started a relationship some would say so soon after her disappearance doesn't diminish the pain he felt and still feels about (Amy's) disappearance," she said. "He was torn inside and devastated. I really believe there were nights, when we talked for hours, that I stopped him from killing himself."

Early in the relationship, before she moved to Lander, Fischer lived in an apartment on Denver's Capitol Hill and worked for Women's Sports and Fitness, a magazine then published in Boulder.

Sometimes, Steve Bechtel would come to Denver, where they could lose themselves in the city like any other attractive young couple, away from small-town eyes that tracked him in Lander as the handsome husband whose wife had vanished.

During her years with Steve Bechtel, there never was abuse or threats, Fischer said.

"Sometimes, things just don't work out," she said. "But I still support Steve."

She returned to her career, and he married a blond runner who works part time at Wild Iris Mountain Sports, the same sporting goods store where he and Amy took jobs when they first arrived in Lander.


Steve and Ellen Bechtel live in the house he and Amy purchased a few days before she vanished.

"Steve wouldn't be with a woman who wasn't an athlete," Fischer said. "We have to give Ellen credit for being Ellen, not a replacement for Amy."

Steve operates a fitness center and "is very much a respected member of the community," said Mike Lilygren, 36, who was Bechtel's roommate and climbing partner when Bechtel met his future wife Amy at the University of Wyoming.

Staying put

"Steve and Amy had been married just about a year, and they seemed to be very much in love," said Tom Bechtel, 70, a Casper architect who is Steve Bechtel's father.

Buying the Lander house seemed evidence to him that the marriage was solid, the father said.

In a series of late-night calls, Steve Bechtel notified their families of her disappearance. He also called on his mountain-savvy friends in Lander, including staff members from the well-respected National Outdoors Leadership School. They set out into the summer night to find her, before authorities launched a search.

The couple's friends went looking for an injured runner, not for a crime victim.

When searchers found her white Toyota station wagon at about 1 a.m. on a road through the Shoshone National Forest, it became the de facto command post for the widening search, with any potential clues of a crime obliterated - if a crime had been committed.

Inside the car were some keys, her $120 sunglasses and a to-do list, with four of its 13 items checked off. At the bottom of the list, she had written notes about the road, suggesting she might have driven the Toyota herself while scouting the route for a 10K run she was organizing.

No other evidence was ever found: no sign that she actually had arrived in the car, no verifiable tracks, no shreds of cloth, no blood stains.

As the investigation progressed, searchers found no evidence of a wild-animal attack, no clues to a kidnapping and no corpse.

"From the beginning, I had strong support for Steve, and then things got more and more tense," said Jenny Newton, 35, the sister closest in age to Amy. "I tried to encourage him to cooperate with law enforcement."

But, "While a typical, normal loving husband will do anything to find his wife, (Steve Bechtel) got lawyered up," said Mathews, the former sheriff.

And not just any lawyer, but rock-climbing lawyer Kent Spence, son of high-profile defense lawyer Gerry Spence, of Jackson, Wyo.

Steve Bechtel presented himself through surrogates as the target of a police conspiracy to cover up their shoddy work.

"There has been a failure by the Fremont County Sheriff's Department and the FBI to follow up on leads," the senior Bechtel said. "Except those that point to Steven."

While investigators said Steve Bechtel has not asked about progress in the case for years, Bechtel's father said his son would be willing to answer their questions, with Spence present.

"He's innocent," the senior Bechtel said. "He's going to stay there and make Lander his home."


Not knowing hurts family

Nels Wroe, 36, of Longmont, thinks of angels when he thinks of his missing sister. She had a collection of angels, but their smiling faces don't capture his sister's grit, independence and determination.

Amy asked Nels Wroe, in the role of older brother, to speak at her wedding. Nels Wroe consented, but reluctantly.

To Nels Wroe, his brother-in-law-to-be presented himself as charming, entertaining and "your best friend from the moment you meet him." But, Wroe also sensed Steve Bechtel was distant, obsessed with Amy and manipulative to keep himself the focus of attention.

Wroe was the first of the family to voice doubts about Steven Bechtel after Amy disappeared.


"My sisters didn't accept that Steve could have had anything to do with it," he said.

Casey Lee, the missing woman's oldest sister, plans a quiet observance of her sister's disappearance Sunday.


"I'll probably do what I do every year," Lee said. "Go out on the lake and say a prayer."

"I wish I could accept that she was dead or just missing," she said. "I wish it was as simple as that.

"Sometimes, in my dreams, I have closure that she is dead, and, sometimes, in my dreams, I have closure she has come back. It doesn't end.

"It would be wonderful if I knew what happened to her."
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