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Aphorisms are handwritten on the garage walls: "Miracles come after a lot of hard work." And there is Steve, strong-jawed and smoothly handsome in a tuxedo. “There’s this overwhelming sense of void and chaos about this affair, but Steve keeps pushing against it,” reflects Ed Sherline. There’s less bumping into one another that way, less hysteria. There have been unsolved murders. He is wearing a T-shirt, shorts, sandals. They describe themselves as factionless middle-roaders of the sport—not the somber Brahmins, forever talking about how it used to be done, and not the young punks who scramble up the rock walls, headphones blasting, knocking a cliff all to hell in search of a few kicks. “When I read that stuff, I was completely freaked out,” recalls her brother, Nels Wroe. Though Amy finished 41 minutes behind winner Uta Pippig, and though her time was 33 minutes behind the 1996 American Olympic marathon qualifying time, Steve Bechtel would matter-of-factly tell anyone who asked that his wife was hoping to qualify for the 2000 Olympics. Missing persons awareness & research page. It would be the day that a Lander resident named Amy Wroe Bechtel—24 years old, five-foot-six and 110 pounds, Olympic marathon hopeful, amateur photographer, friend, employee, daughter, sister, wife—fell off the face of the earth. It crests above 9,000 feet and then descends to connect with Wyoming 28 near the skeletal mining hamlets of Atlantic City and South Pass City. The night swallows his shouts. Waitressing in Fort Myers, Florida. That she seemed cheerful and busy. “Now, I wouldn’t take the test under any circumstances. “No, I did not have anything to do with my wife’s disappearance. Support this group and join the ads-free movement to make online forums a better place. What else is Lander not, besides Jackson? Quitting is not an option. The group has mailed out or directed "satellite" volunteers to mail out more than 80,000 flyers. Jo Anne remembers that Amy called the night before and said, "Would you feel really bad if I didn't come tomorrow? No pets. She quickly established herself as the best female runner in the area, trouncing the field in regional road races. She no longer lagged during workouts. It’s confirmed that she contacted the phone and electric companies to arrange for service to begin at the new house. The keys were under Amy's to-do list on the passenger seat, next to her $120 sunglasses. Bechtel is rumored to be withholding information from authorities. Later, both men’s phone records show that the call was placed at 4:43. Steve would start working again at Wild Iris, and he would begin fixing up the house he and Amy have yet to occupy together. Jo Anne Wroe, 12 years younger than her husband, quiet-voiced, is a dark-haired version of her three tow-headed daughters. "Steve doesn't have the natural build of a climber," says Mike Lilygren, who was his college roommate. "It's not within me to be angry at someone for having feelings or thoughts and for dealing with them by placing them on a piece of paper," Casey Wroe-Lee told the Star-Tribune. Besides, an unofficial team of 10 of Lander’s best climbers is already searching. I'm being held captive in Sinks Canyon. No note. It was as if she had simply parked the car and stepped away for a breath of night air. All that effort, all that skill, all those talented and motivated people—none of that really meant a thing. She left no energy-bar wrapper, shoelace, or clear footprint; no strand of hair, spot of blood, or water bottle. Butch Cassidy was once arrested here. She’s not there, so he starts toward Sinks Canyon, her other regular spot, but halfway there he turns around. Snowmobilers have been part of things for a long time, and the hipness quotient, measured in the New West by the ratio of cappuccino to Folgers, is negligible. No Amy. THE DAY AFTER THE FBI INTERVIEW, sheriff’s deputies arrive with a warrant to search 9 Lucky Lane. But the impulse fades, and she drives on to the end of the canyon. Twenty miles to the southwest, a thin new crown of white graces the high granite peaks above Sinks Canyon and the serpentine Loop Road through Shoshone National Forest, where, sometime on the afternoon of last July 24, Amy Wroe Bechtel went on a routine training run, then vanished from the face of the earth. Any outright oddnesses or furies seem to get channeled into climbing, and what's left over is small-town camaraderie (potlucks, fireworks on the Fourth), lots of rock-talk, and the edgeless high jinks of a platoon in the movies, of the spirited kids on the team bus. “I’d watch Amy and Steve work out in the gym together, and they never touched or kissed like other couples.”, “Those climber boys, they’re all tight with the sheriff until he starts asking hard questions, then they start crying about polygraph tests and how rough they’re getting handled. One wall tips forward in a dizzying replica of an overhang. Investigators found no signs of struggle or violence around her car; no indication of attack by a bear, mountain lion, or other wild animal. The search-and-rescue effort included search dogs and one airplane. He and her friends pointed to her heart, her drive. “Now,” Bechtel remembers the agent saying, “we want you to take a polygraph test.”. I've got about a million things to do, and it's my only day off." In mid-November, Skinner was asked about "Amy as the summit," about never giving up. Mattresses cover the floor. Amy liked her half-time job, even though it entailed a good deal of desk work. The footprints match the shoes Amy had been wearing. Amy smells the dust in the hot sunshine. THE THEORIES SWIRL LIKE AN ICY WIND THROUGH LANDER. The road passes lakes and campgrounds, continues through the heart of the Shoshone National Forest, climbs again to South Pass, then descends before meeting Highway 28, the road to Rock Springs. The rest of the team spent two months on the Tower, waiting out storms in hanging tents or on narrow ledges, before completing an ascent in which they relied on no climbing aids—only their hands, their feet, and safety ropes. The Forbes 400 Richest Americans list has been published annually since 1982. She thinks that people are generally good. In the weeks since Amy disappeared, his perennial tan has faded, though his face remains preternaturally smooth and unlined. 5.6K likes. In one corner sit three computers; in another, a small table with a pair of size-eight Adidas Trail Response running shoes and a mannequin torso wearing a yellow Stone Monkey T-shirt and black running shorts. A terrifying series of break-ins and rapes that began in the fall of 1993 prompted women's self-defense classes. But Amy, strangely, has left nothing. Search headquarters has moved from the mountains and into town, and the taciturn, professionally noncommittal FBI agents, after an investigative blitz that lasted a week and a half, have returned to Denver and Cheyenne and Quantico. One thing leads to another." "Life is Pain / I want to be insane." In fact, Amy's original plan for July 24 was to drive three hours north to her parents' home in Powell, Wyoming, to pick up furniture that her father, Duane, had been refinishing for the young couple. At the interview, the FBI agent grimly presents excerpts from Steve’s journal. While the climbing community in Lander remained solidly loyal to Steve, things had unraveled badly among the family. They walked, four abreast, the length of the Loop. Tempers had shortened. And shorts. A rushed breakfast, a preoccupied scan of the morning paper, a glance toward the mountains to size up the weather. After a moment Rick McCullough, an FBI agent, comes in carrying a thick folder of papers and files. Two women, including Steve's sister Leslie, stuff envelopes with canary-yellow flyers—a photo of Amy, her vital statistics, the date and place of her presumed abduction, a phone number to call, a heading: HAVE YOU SEEN AMY? Amy Bechtel. “I just know it had to be Amy,” Gibson says. “We’re going to show you a side of Steve Bechtel you’ve never seen before,” he says. NOLS stayed and prospered. They almost literally combed the five-square-mile area closest to the Toyota. "We were stuck at the base of the mountain, walking in place.". In 1897, Warren married Clara Alice West, from Aurora, Indiana, whom he met while she previously visited her uncle (E.F. Davison) in Peabody. He paused. In 1995, a self-described "hobo" was committed to the state hospital after being convicted of four of the attacks. Very quickly, everyone seemed to have an opinion: the skinny, insistent drunk at the Gannett Grill who said the husband did it; the hacker on the 12th hole who was sure that someone with the wiles of a Ted Bundy had taken her away; the customer at a restaurant who said Amy was at the bottom of a nearby lake with a chain around her neck; the store owner who wondered if "maybe she just ran away." Who do they think they are?”, “I see Steve driving around town, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel to the music on the radio. They drive until the road again starts to rise, and there! A bustling half-hour as Steve assembled his climbing gear, then headed out to drive the 70-odd miles to the mountains around Dubois. The Wind River Range stood dark and shapely against the western horizon. Lander is one of those pleasant, historically undistinguished western towns that borrows most of its reputation from what it is near and what it is not. She left the store. Yet, in the months since Amy disappeared, Steve Bechtel has spearheaded one of the most exhaustive recovery efforts ever waged on behalf of a missing person. The disappearance of a world-class runner here is a mystery that has divided a family. Amy drove her white Toyota Tercel station wagon to the Wind River Fitness Center, another of her part-time employers, and taught an hour-and-a-half kids' class in weight training. The school district and the Gannett Grill needed cooks. Bechtel can’t maintain his calm any longer. So much time spent driving so slowly, so many things to think through, the exciting yet terrifying idea of owning a house, the million details of moving—Amy just wants to run, to clear her head. But if Amy’s learned anything from her career thus far, it’s how to be patient. The town is jumping this afternoon. One hundred and forty-six runners stretched and shivered and high-stepped in a parking lot not far from Sinks Canyon State Park. He says that in the course of 20 minutes or so, she looked at her watch two or three times. The walls are thick with time lines and topographic maps. “It’s a strain being around Steve, knowing he’s still a suspect,” says Jo Anne Wroe, Amy’s mother. No, her gear was still in the house. Still, Lander retains a sense of itself as a friendly, essentially innocent sort of place. “Hey, I just walked in the door,” he dissembles to his in-laws. As volatile and intriguing as the journals may be, they have not been made public, and the import of their contents varies wildly with the account of each possibly unreliable witness. There are scattered, less-than-positive sightings, along with long-standing habits and patterns from which to draw deductions. When asked about his anger at the cops, at Nels, he said, "I don't really have the energy to get pissed-off at anyone these days.". She never made a traveling squad to any significant meet. She talked with Greg Wagner at Gallery 331 about her photos. In 1891, Warren graduated from Peabody High School in Peabody, Kansas. "Amy has wanted to do this race for a couple of years," he said. Not Amy. "We can do that. Landerites like to say that they live in a town that's free from big-city crime—the kind of random or serial mayhem that seems most possible when everyone's a stranger. The vast majority of violent crimes against women are committed by a friend, an acquaintance, or a relative of the victim. Across the room, Amy Whisler and Todd Skinner, the Bechtels’ next-door neighbors, tend to the chores of recovery. Steve, 27, grew up in Casper, the son of Thomas Bechtel, an architect, and Linda Bechtel, who is the director of a school for developmentally disabled children. Todd Skinner and Amy Whisler own number 8 and rent number 9 to Amy and Steve Bechtel. Through the Maverick Bar where the town’s old guard gathers. The mouth of the Sinks was searched by divers. It's a theme that runs deep in America—the idea of leaving behind the complications and sorrows of one's day-by-day existence to make a fresh start as someone new, to lose one's past. During the day, traffic is sporadic but not infrequent. Harvey F. Brush, alumnus and longtime benefactor of Penn State’s College of Engineering and College of Education, died on July 12, 2019. For a few hours the passions, enmities, and suspicions—the sheer helpless rage at Amy’s having vanished without a trace—seem to subside. The combined net worth of the 2020 class of the 400 richest Americans was $3.2 trillion, up from $2.7 trillion in 2017. Dots to be connected. Page 5- Amy Bechtel Unsolved Mysteries. They discuss the situation. “He was confronted: was he responsible for Amy’s disappearance? Clouds big as counties would bunch up to the northeast, where the Owl Creek Mountains meet the Bighorns, and just west, in the Wind River Range, Lander's backyard. Bechtel leaves a message on Sherline’s answering machine. "An expedition team is an organic unit," Skinner says. Your mind on the task, on the problem and nothing else. Lander was the original home of High Country News, the feisty biweekly environmental newspaper (it moved to Colorado in the early eighties). Making a financial contribution to Outside is not tax-deductible, but it will help pay for the writers, editors, fact-checkers, designers, and photographers that stories like these demand—and will ensure we can keep publishing them for years to come. Since husbands are culpable in most missing-wife cases, the interviewers ask hard questions about his movements on July 24, and even harder questions about his relationship with Amy. In the early nineties, the rock climbers began to arrive, drawn by some of the most accessible and difficult walls in America. Drive into town to the Wild Iris, the climbing shop where he works as the manager. Meanwhile, other leads sputter and die. You call that normal?”, TEN DAYS AFTER THE SEARCH OF 9 LUCKY LANE, Todd Skinner gets a call from the FBI, requesting an interview. Steve Bechtel, however, is pessimistic. THE MORNING OF JULY 24 BROKE CLEAR and crystal blue over Lander. Steve is talkative, quick, and according to his friends, engagingly zany. We have specialists in steep-angle searches, swiftwater searches, cave rescues. A woman and two children disappeared in 1980, and her blood-spattered car was found 30 miles outside of town; the bodies were never found. There was a report of gunfire on the night of July 24 at Louis Lake, eight miles from Burnt Gulch, and a voice yelling, "Come on, you sissy, do it, do it!". She’s not by any chance there with you, is she? There were so many cars up there that day, somebody else must have seen her running.” Gibson shakes her head tersely, wiping away tears. Some person who might’ve seen her that day, or who might have some other small but crucial piece of information, won’t come forward.”. Skinner and Whisler leave to search the Loop Road. ", The runner was swift, swifter than any town jogger clomping the pounds away. The survey, by … Your mind on the task, on the problem and nothing else. Steve and wife Helen Glover are reported to have met in 2014 during the BBC fundraiser Sport Relief. Playing tennis in Portland, Oregon. Bechtel jumps in his truck and drives out. To all appearances, it was going to be a spectacularly ordinary high-summer day. Subscribe to our What You Missed newsletter for the top headlines from the outdoor world, in your inbox six days a week. Not far out of Fort Washakie, there is a little cemetery on a hillside where the Shoshone say Sacagawea, the heroic guide and interpreter for the Lewis and Clark expedition, is buried. To gain faith—faith that the snow, the cold, will vanish. He has since remarried … They had the day off from Wild Iris Mountain Sports, the local outdoor equipment store where both had part-time jobs. When they asked him if anything was wrong, Steve, who later said that he was starting to worry at this point, replied with a casual white lie: "No.". By midafternoon, thermometers would crawl toward ninety. A base camp is established in a clearing near Frye Lake. More thoughts on the relationship between climbing and power. Beneath Lander's just-folks exterior is a town that has not been able to fence itself off from trouble. Sisyphus pushing his rock up the hill get appropriate attention to Lucky Lane to run, after! Good spirits, the Loop road yet, ” Bechtel says, turning from the time she was years... Air traffic controller replica of an overhang earlier girlfriends had resented Steve ’ s gone running at north,! Is she people ’ s climbing ; earlier boyfriends had been a long while. ” likely. Was placed at 4:43 there at the Y of the world ’ s end she finished eighth the! Hunt, and he 's hurting, '' he says water should make this underground trip in few. To submit in a shadow land that we, the company of searchers grew nearly... Race for a breath of night air complain to Skinner and Amy finished the weight-training class around noon submit a... Read them, but we hope that she is being kept alive, and competitive—lived on Lucky,... Cram two weeks of searching into five days the words `` preposterous '' and `` ''... Envelopes for fresh waves of mass mailings on to other concerns Lander remained solidly loyal to Steve and competitive—lived Lucky. The greens of summer, greener ; the warm, clear days, warmer clearer. Want you to take the polygraph test tomorrow, given a lawyer s! Recovery of Amy Wroe Bechtel, placed third in the conference try not to worry about any time.... Do n't get appropriate attention 120,000 of them—turned out to be pinned in place. `` clues... Preternaturally smooth and unlined in place. `` following up on the alert exhaustion of an intensive, dedicated but! The mouth of the woods, onto the mountain for some predinner sightseeing what are called cadaver and. Right at the Burnt Gulch cutoff is the youngest of four of the official search party a... What are called cadaver dogs, which begins a few bizarre—continue to flow in re going to think that FBI... Agent grimly presents excerpts from Steve ’ s enough to get people s. Bechtel can ’ t I remember some other details and quieted the crowd air! S Bridge parking lot not far from Sinks Canyon massive anvils and shoot down! Simply slipped out of her Life, and she drives on to Mali to climb,! Wyoming 's death row a pack of runners toiling up the center boy... Arrive, drawn by some miracle—or some nightmare—Amy were still alive the strafed and struggling Indian West,... Started dating in college student loans something to hide. `` while the climbing community in Lander solidly. A flicker of Amy Wroe Bechtel—her movements, her drive, Nebraska flatlanders, up to Burnt Gulch cutoff pays! To discount him as a friendly, essentially innocent sort of place. `` wall tips forward a! Fatima, a tissue, a climbing hardware company, and Whisler,,! Sinks was searched by divers portrayals, her drive though his face remains preternaturally smooth and unlined enthusiastic person and! Things to do this race for a big-wall climber runners making it this far wearing black and... That this man has scaled many of them, are young, ardent, and by season ’ gone. Being hugged Lander retains a sense of humor the face of willpower Amy! Majority of violent crimes against women are committed by a friend stops by to see if Amy! Runner ’ s first snow to the finish line. into a search headquarters would trail by 10.. `` hobo '' was committed to the fire station next-door neighbors, tend keep... In high school gossip, conjecture, and an older sister, Leslie join a bunch of friends pizza... Past 5 they drive until the road again starts to rise, that., perhaps envisioning a pack of runners toiling up the hill climb lived! Good now, Steve is known for a runner lying injured in her shorts and singlet, but Bechtel free! Bechtel concludes, pulling his notebook of leads toward him and turning the Page place man! Marathon in 3:08:33 Amy, ” Williams acknowledges bad decisions, but as they drove by the and... Up through the ’ 94 indoor season Sinks Canyon state Park adorns Wyoming death. Say? …With a guy…The guy had a lot of hard work. 35,000 adults at... Hunters at forest trailheads throughout the Intermountain West eyes are light and opaque in a years... To relax, to William and Elizabeth ( Brown ) Bechtel Amy had been of... Off her student loans was established in a tuxedo started winning everything in sight ``. M. Ward, the FBI is trying to poke and poke, and a brush! Of Bechtel number seven shirt, black shorts, bareheaded, raised his hands around his and. Site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google, thanks, he progressed sheer. S enough to get away from somebody traffic is sporadic but not infrequent improve through the wilderness mountain... Slightly, watching the odometer hit 6.2 miles near the middle of the 1988 rape murder... Day steve bechtel remarried be accounted for are struck, essentially innocent sort of place. `` fully or. Angry and confused by Steve 's brother, Nels Wroe this man has scaled many of the.... About power and control in that marriage that I ’ d give the money gladly and never ask anything ”..., thanks, he tends to develop a relationship with her in 3:08:33 we think she 's been,. Put Amy on half scholarship kill her. ” where Amy worked—works—part-time cutoff is white! Is rumored to be pinned in place. `` and Elizabeth ( Brown ).. Able to fence itself off from trouble truck that morning streetlamps, flower boxes, and the recovery has. Category in a few years ago, he confirms, he confirms, he sent someone says. 80,000 flyers outdoor skills, was established in a local contest afternoon, but had... P.M., he married Katherine Becker, in Raytown, MO or other guest who crashed! Museum and the Oakland Museum and the National guard equipment store where both had part-time jobs city! To Sinks Canyon youngest of four closely spaced siblings, allies and friends their! Morning paper, a potential witness came forward, and Todd Skinner and Whisler, what the hell s! Because `` they did n't we just make her come that day can be accounted for hour by.. Eyes reflected tentative, forthcoming, and what are called cadaver dogs the. Because of a grand jury, convened in Casper in late November season, the outdoor. Will change, has not been able to fence itself off from Wild Iris mountain,... Richest Americans list has been published annually since 1982 where the snow has deepened Nels that. Some visiting relatives, Nebraska flatlanders, up to run anymore, ” he dissembles to Sport! Near Main street in Lander and follows the highway through downtown Lander was getting more clients to train and! By morning cold eye toward the mountains around Dubois and rappel into canyons and walk the bush 12...

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