St. George family calls Powells' 'runaway' theory baseless

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SALT LAKE CITY — As police began searching the Nevada desert for West Valley City mother Susan Powell, her husband and his father again floated their theory that she ran away with missing St. George resident Steven Koecher.

But it's a theory that just doesn't make sense to Koecher's family.

Josh Powell, and his father, Steve Powell, say they believe Susan and Steven Koecher may have been hiding out in Nevada.


"On the day after she disappeared, he (Steven Koecher) was in Ruby Valley, Nevada — which is just north of Ely, Nevada," Steven Powell said Thursday after hearing of the police lead. "Who's going to look for you in Ely, Nevada?"

Police have repeatedly said Josh Powell has been uncooperative with their efforts and Josh said they, in turn, have provided him with little information about the case.

"We've been working hard to bring Susan home," Josh Powell told KSL News Thursday. "Anything that gets us closer to that is a good thing."

Koecher has been missing since Dec. 13, when he was last spotted on a surveillance video in a neighborhood outside Las Vegas. His cousin, KC Naegle, said Friday that while the family appreciates the publicity the rumored connection to Susan Cox Powell brings, they don't buy into the theory.

"It's been weird," she's said, "especially since it's really outlandish that they're connecting them. Yeah, it's kind of a coincidence that they disappeared at the same time, but they're saying things like, 'They both lived in downtown Salt Lake.' Right, but so did how many other people?"

Dallin Koecher, Steven Koecher's brother, says police haven't found any evidence the two ever met and says the theory they ran away together is just ridiculous.

If he's living in Brazil with Susan Powell and he's happy and well, then we'd be happy with that. We just want to know.

–KC Naegle, Koecher's cousin

"(Steven Koecher) wasn't conniving. It's hard for me to imagine if this was something he planned to do, that we wouldn't have caught on to it by now," Dallin Koecher said.

Naegle agrees, saying running off with a married woman with children is "so far outside" her cousin's character. She also pointed out that Steven Koecher and Susan Powell were at totally different points in their lives — Koecher as a single guy living with roommates and Susan as a married mother of two.

Susan Powell's father, Chuck Cox, had a similar reaction that of the Koecher family. "Somebody would know something about that — a girlfriend, a friend, somebody would have a clue. And nobody does," he said.

Still, the possibility Koecher is alive, regardless of the circumstances, is better than some of the alternatives.

"If he's living in Brazil with Susan Powell and he's happy and well, then we'd be happy with that," Naegle said. "We just want to know."

At a press conference Friday evening, West Valley Police Sgt. Mike Powell said the search in Ely, Nev., has nothing to do with Steven Koecher.


Written by Emiley Morgan with contributions from Mike Anderson.

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