Susan Cox Powell, Steven Koecher — An anniversary, two lives, a new theory

Published: Thursday, Dec. 9 2010 1:16 a.m. MST

The world is full of theories. Conspiracies, whodunits, cloak and dagger. So when juicy details about high-profile cases like the one of missing Utah mom Susan Cox Powell surface, people tend to take notice.

What puts a twist in the most recent twisting theory is that it also involves a highly reported Utah missing persons case involving 30-year-old Steven Koecher.

Background: Susan Cox Powell, 28, a housewife and mother to two children was reported missing from her home in West Valley City on Dec. 7, 2009.

Keocher, of St. George, was last seen on surveillance cameras in Henderson, Nev., at noon on Dec. 13, 2009.

In the Powell case, Susan's husband Joshua Powell told police he last saw his wife getting ready for bed and then took the couple's two boys, then ages 2 and 4, camping in the family's van in a remote part of Tooele County. It was initially believed the whole family was gone, but only Joshua Powell and the boys returned the next day. A year ago, West Valley police identified him a person of interest in the case.

Families and friends have set up support websites, Facebook pages and a Twitter account to disseminate information and get the word out for searches and updates.

Reporters, magazines and other writers across the country have stayed on the Powell and Keocher stories. With the anniversary of both cases, the most exhaustive new theory comes from none other than Joshua Powell and his father Steve, who maintain and operate the Powell family website susanpowell.org.

Last Thursday, the site published a series of new theories, prefacing on its homepage: "It has been one year since she left and SusanPowell.org is now changing its focus to begin responding to the rumors surrounding Susan Powell and other individuals. The ongoing efforts to protect the children will remain paramount as Susan Powell's family corrects the record."

The father and son lay out the following details: that Susan Cox Powell and Koecher are about the same age; they are both members of the LDS Church; and they were both in West Valley City during the week of their disappearances in December 2009. Further, they state Susan Cox Powell and Koecher absconded to Brazil, where they potentially married and started a new life.

Further information is found in sections of the Powell website:

Susan Powell and Steven Koecher parallel timelines

Susan Powell and Steven Koecher parallel personalities

Susan Powell and Steven Koecher parallel work histories

Also published on the site was the following:

"To help the investigation, Steve Powell wrote a document with basic facts and opinions that he had researched and brainstormed. On February 24, 2010, Steve Powell presented a preliminary copy during a meeting with agents RAJ and GWF of the FBI. Following this meeting, Steve continued to add to the document until March 1, 2010. The final document is still a rough draft because Steve's intent with this document was to present the information as quickly as possible. On March 2, 2010 Steve forwarded this final draft along with a relevant timeline and map to four law enforcement agencies working on the Susan Powell and Steven Koecher cases. Nothing was added after March 1, 2010 except footnotes."

Under a headline titled "Conjecture on Powell pours salt on wounds," Deseret News columnist Lee Benson devoted his weekly column to this new theory, writing: "Now, as the cold of December returns, a new twist has emerged about what happened to them. Susan Powell and Steven Koecher ran off together, it is being speculated. They're alive and well and living most likely in Brazil, where Koecher was once a missionary. It's a scenario that transforms Susan and Steven from victims into cheats and crooks."

Benson contacted Rolf Koecher, Steven's father, who told Benson: "Everything they say is not founded in truth or reality, it's just scenarios. Their assertions have opened up wounds that were healing."

Isabelle Zehnder, a Seattle Headlines Examiner writer, also wrote about the new theory under the headline Susan Cox Powell and Steven Koecher missing 1 year — Any connection?.

E-mail: mreece@desnews.com

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