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Inside story: Media attention opens old wounds, new hopes
by Rolf Koecher
Dec 08, 2010 | 2357 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rolf D. Koecher, Editor
Rolf D. Koecher, Editor
We were heading to our oldest son’s house Saturday evening to be with his kids while he and his wife attended a company Christmas party.

Just before we left the house, however, he called to say, “Dad, you might want to wear a shirt suitable to be seen in on television.”

He added that NBC cameras would be there to interview us for a brief segment on Monday morning’s Today Show. A version of the segment would also appear on KSL-TV that night.

In the intervening days, we have also talked to the Deseret News, The Salt Lake Tribune, the Ogden Standard-Examiner, media sources in Washington state, Deseret News columnist Lee Benson, People magazine and other local TV stations.

The best way to explain how we feel about this is to note it has re-opened wounds that were healing.

We had been meaning to let the next few days pass quietly, but due to the new flurry of media attention, we need to let Clipper readers know our position. And it’s a bit complicated

Essentially, Josh Powell and his father Steve have launched a new website in conjunction with the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of West Valley mother Susan Powell.

The site displays a photo of my son Steven, next to a photo of Susan Powell, Josh Powell’s wife.

In the information that follows, it alleges in part that the Powells believe Susan has run off to Brazil with my son Steven. In addition, the Powell website lists even more strange possibilities.

To be sure, websites by other parties also offer every weird scenario imaginable.

Our relatives have tried to shield us from many of these allegations, but we have examined several of them. And so have Las Vegas, Henderson and St. George police.

Just to be thorough, they have checked out a number of these theories — even some proffered by psychics.

Henderson detectives on several occasions have checked out rocks, ravines and fields suggested by psychics just to make sure — but have always found nothing.

So while there are many theories out there, we have encountered very little to substantiate them. To make our position clear, I will stick strictly to the evidence that has been found — not simply what we as a family would like to believe.

So here’s our position. As I said, it’s a bit complicated:

1. We are not upset at the Powell family for making these assertions. We realize they are going through a hard time and understand they may be grasping at straws.

2. The facts, however, don’t lead to their conclusion. That’s because police checked airline boardings out of Las Vegas for a period of several months. Steven was not on a plane that departed from McCarran International Airport.

We, ourselves, thought for a time that Steven might have gone to Brazil because he asked me for his passport about a month before he disappeared. However, we eventually found the passport among his possessions

That discovery hit us like so many other things in this baffling situation: We were happy to know he hadn’t fled the country, but saddened to realize another clue had vanished.

2. Which points out that seemingly logical theories often turn out to be just that: mere theories that evaporate when confronted by facts.

3. We also have not sought media involvement just for attention’s sake — our only interest has always been to find a clue that might lead us to Steven. That’s why we have preferred to focus on things that could have a chance of finding him, not something that has no other object than attracting attention.

4. We do see a bright side in all this because if the wider media attention sparks just a single solid lead, it will have been worth the added upheaval to our lives. And, oddly enough, we would be happy to know that our son was living in Brazil because knowing he is safe and happy beats continuing to remain in the dark.

5. And just as the Brazil theory can be easily dismissed by the facts, so can many of the Powells’ other assertions — especially links to Steven’s being in West Valley. Our copies of bank records show that Steven had bought gas in Salt Lake City — not West Valley – in the days after Susan Powell’s disappearance. Another website that has been tracking Steven’s situation shows the same data and features the disclaimer that its timeline does not support the one offered by the Powells.

I could say much more, but this should suffice.

While we remain open to any possibility or further information that may be found, investigations by police and others do not support any link to Susan Powell, to a new life in Brazil or to other unusual theories.

All we know is that he is missing — and apparently without a trace.
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