First search comes up empty after new theory emerges in case of man missing since 2009

Posted at 7:54 PM, May 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-17 23:47:02-04

UPDATE:  Searchers were out looking for Steven Koecher this weekend but did not find anything, see the first video for details on the search and the second for background on the man's disappearance.

Previous story continues below:

ST. GEORGE, Utah – Nearly six years after he went missing, volunteers are picking up the search for missing St. George man Steven Koecher.

Red Rock Search and Rescue coordinators have a new theory about where he may have gone. Saturday, 50 people will comb the hills above the Henderson, Nevada subdivision where he was last seen. The search area consists of 25 square miles of wilderness.

“It’s neat to hear, have a new group come in with new resources and new energy to breathe new energy into this investigation,” said Steven’s brother, Dallin.

Steven was living St. George when he went missing December 13, 2009. Family members say the last contact he had with anyone was that day while in the Las Vegas area. It’s believed he was passing out fliers for work when he went missing. Steven’s mother Deanne said it’s heartwarming that volunteers would continue the search.

“Life goes on for everybody else except for us,” Deanne said. “Every day, it’s a part of our lives.”

Red Rock Search and Rescue specializes in missing persons. Public Information Officer Olivia Niziolek said Steven’s case has been high on their priority list.

“The theory that we have this time as we start our search is the subject decided to go high, and go a little bit higher into the mountains,” Niziolek said. “We’re going to be sending out five different teams, and we’re going to follow the wash.”

Law enforcement have pursued several leads in the case, even exploring an allegation that Steven ran away with Susan Cox Powell, who went missing one week prior. The Koecher family has searched the Henderson area, but they hope this new theory will help them find their son.

“They do this all the time, so they have experience in these kind of cases, so they may have more insight than we did,” Dallin said. “We’re excited that they’re willing to do that.”

The search will begin early Saturday morning. If they don’t find anything, they’ll reassess and plan to search again.