Coan family photo
Eighteen-year-old Christopher Coan disappeared from his job at a Subway store on Sept. 3, 2007, in Enoch, Iron County.

The search for a missing southern Utah man is getting a boost from a team of private investigators.

The Private Investigator Association of Utah is volunteering some of its members' time and skills to help track down Christopher Coan. It's a case that has perplexed police and left his family heartbroken.

"Just to know that someone else out there is helping, and that someone still remembers and still cares, and that he's not completely forgotten," Coan's stepmother, Shannon Coan, told the Deseret Morning News on Tuesday.

Coan, 18, vanished from a Subway shop in Iron County on Sept. 3, 2007. He left his driver's license, clothing and money behind. His 1994 maroon and silver Chevy S-10 Blazer with stickers on the back window hasn't been found. The temporary license tag expired in October, and the vehicle has been listed as missing in a national crime database.

"It's very concerning to us," said David Lundberg, a private investigator who is volunteering his time to help find Coan. "This vehicle and this kid have completely disappeared."

The private investigators are volunteering their time and resources to the family for free. They are seeking donations to help pay for travel costs and other expenses that may come up in their investigation. Already, an investigator has been in Cedar City questioning family and friends.

Enoch Police Chief Dave Browning welcomed the help from the private eyes.

"We're just happy for the help," he said Tuesday. "We're kind of grounded, if you will, here in Enoch. There's different leads outside the state that need to be checked out."

Some believe Coan did not leave on his own. Lundberg said there is no evidence that he ran away. Coan has had no contact with family or friends and seemed to have no problems in his life.

"We have found nothing," Lundberg said. "We don't know if he's been kidnapped, killed, what's happened."

Browning said he has no evidence that suggests Coan has met with foul play. The chief said the last series of sightings reported were in Silver City, N.M., where Coan's Blazer was seen at a car wash there. Because Coan is 18, it's not a crime to run away. However, his family is hopeful the private investigators can help answer the most painful question: What happened to Chris?

"Our spirits have just been lifted," Shannon Coan said. "It's just renewal of energy to keep going on, to know there's still hope."

Anyone with information on Coan is asked to call Enoch police at 435-596-9445; Lundberg's office at 866-363-2422; or the Web site

E-mail: [email protected]