Real Name: Amy Joy Wroe Bechtel
Nicknames: Some resources hyphenate her name: Wroe-Bechtel
Location: Lander, Wyoming
Date: July 24, 1997 (last reported sighting on July 25, 1997)
Date of Birth: August 4, 1972
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 115 lbs.
Marital Status: Married
Characteristics: Blonde hair, blue eyes, scars on shins and knees, checker-shaped scar on lower back, scar on left cheek
Details: Twenty-four-year-old Amy Wroe and Steve Bechtel were married in 1996. They were avid fitness enthusiasts; she loved running while he loved climbing. They moved to Lander, Wyoming, because its rugged terrain made it a perfect training ground for them. They had recently bought a home of their own and planned to move in sometime during late July 1997. At 9:30AM on July 24, he left to go rock climbing with a friend while she left to teach a fitness class.
Amy had a long list of errands that day: call the phone company, get the gas turned on, and buy home insurance. After they were completed, she planned to go for a jog on Loop Road in the Shoshone National Forest. Sometime during the day, she vanished. When Steve returned from his all-day rock climbing trip, she was not home. At 8:15PM, he visited his neighbors, Todd and Amy Skinner, who were making dinner. She was still not home at that time, but he was not too concerned. However, at around 11PM, when the Skinners returned from a movie, he came to them and said that she still had not returned.
The Skinners drove along several roads where they believed Amy would have went jogging. Steve stayed behind, hoping that she would call. At around 1AM, after driving on Loop Road for about an hour, the Skinners found her white Toyota station wagon. They searched the area, but found no trace of her. By morning, the search expanded dramatically. Eventually, more than 500 people covered a twenty-mile radius. Only one clue was found: a footprint similar to her sneaker was found on Loop Road, but it was lost before police could retrieve it. After eight days, the massive search was called off.
Investigators found that Amy's sunglasses, to-do list, and car keys were on the seat of her car; only her wallet was missing. It was believed that foul play was involved in her disappearance. Soon, Steve was investigated as a suspect in the case. He was questioned extensively, but he denied any involvement. Their home was searched; several suspicious journals were found, belonging to him. They included song lyrics and writings about power, death, and killing.
A female camper claimed she had seen a blue pickup truck racing through the forest with a strange blonde woman in the passenger seat. She claimed that she saw it the next day during the search. She identified Steve's as the one that she had seen on the day of Amy's disappearance. However, the sighting was later disproved through phone records; Steve made a phone call from his home at 4:43PM, the same time as the sighting. Amy's family now wants him to take a polygraph in order to prove his innocence or guilt.
Suspects: Steve has been named a suspect in her disappearance. He refused to take a polygraph test and refused to cooperate with police during their initial investigation. Several journals and poems were found in their home, suggesting that he was fascinated with death and wanted power and control. Amy's brother, Nel, also remembered that she had a suspicious bruise on her arm a few weeks before her disappearance. She said that Steve would get a little "rough" sometimes. She did not act as if it was serious. However, Nel believed that he was abusive. Finally, investigators noted that there were gaps in his activities that day. During these times, he could have harmed her.
However, Steve claimed that he was innocent and felt that he did what was necessary to protect himself from being unjustly prosecuted. His attorney noted that lie detector tests are often inaccurate and would not help in the investigation. Also, phone records disputed the camper witness' testimony. The Skinners believe that he is innocent. Todd believes that his writings were taken out of context.
Steve believes that a stranger may have abducted Amy. Another theory is that a motorist accidentally struck her, panicked, and hid her body.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the April 16, 1999 episode. It was also featured on Disappeared.
Results: Unsolved. In June 2003, a watch believed to be Amy's was found in the middle fork of the Popo Agle River. Some bones were found near it, but were later found to be from an animal. Police have not been able to determine if the watch was indeed hers. She was legally declared dead in 2004. However, she has never been located.
More recently, Dale Wayne Eaton, Lisa Marie Kimmell's murderer, has also been named a suspect in Amy's disappearance and the "Great Basin Murders" which occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s. According to his brother, he was in the Lander area on the day she vanished. He also was known to camp in the area where her car was found. However, neither he nor Steve been charged in her disappearance. It's also worth noting that Eaton's mental health has allegedly diminished while on death row, and may never reveal if he's responsible for other crimes.
Sadly, Amy and Steve's friend Todd Skinner died in climbing accident in 2006. Her father Duane passed away in 2001.
- Amy Wroe Bechtel on Unsolved.com
- Amy Wroe Bechtel on Wikipedia
- Amy Wroe Bechtel on the Charley Project
- Amy Wroe Bechtel on Crime Stoppers
- Amy Wroe Bechtel on the Doe Network
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- Mystery Splits Wyoming Family
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- New podcast hopes to shed new light on the 21-year disappearance of Amy Wroe Bechtel
- Amy Bechtel at Find a Grave