Twenty years later, still no trace of Amy Wroe Bechtel

Aug 29, 2017 By Kelli Ameling, Staff Wrier

After 20 years, the disappearance of Lander resident Amy Wroe Bechtel remains unsolved, but local law enforcement hasn't given up.

"The case is open and active," Fremont County undersheriff Ryan Lee said.

The 24-year-old went missing while running on the Loop Road in the mountains above Lander on July 24, 1997. She was training for a race.

Her husband of 13 months, Steve Bechtel, said it was his wife's first run on the route. Her unlocked vehicle was found at 1 a.m. July 25, 1997, parked at the Burnt Gulch turnout near Sawmill Creek. The keys were in the car.

Fremont County Search and Rescue teams began the search shortly after the vehicle was discovered, and they were joined July 25, 1997 by two canine units, fixed-wing aircraft from Lander and Riverton, and a helicopter from Hawkins-Powers Aviation in Greybull.

Dozens of volunteers joined the search, along with Civil Air Patrol aircraft from Casper and Cheyenne and a helicopter from the 1022 Medevac Company of the Wyoming Army National Guard from Cheyenne.

Units from local fire departments, the U.S. Forest Service plus family and friends of the missing woman swelled the ranks of volunteers searching the area to more than150 people within days of the disappearance. F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne also offered infrared "heat seeking" spotter equipment.

Through 20 years of investigation, no one has been arrested, and no trace of Amy Wroe Bechtel has been fond.

In 2004, Amy Wroe-Bechtel was declared dead by Steve Bechtel.

About a year ago, Lee said there was a "promising lead" worked by the Fremont County Sheriff's Office, however, it did not turn up any new information the department did not already know about.

"There are no active suspects at this time, however, we do have 'persons of interest,'" Lee said.

Some of the biggest challenges in this case, Lee said, include the lack of physical evidence as to her whereabouts, and the fact no witnesses have come forward.

"No one can say for sure what may have happened," Lee said.

"We can only speculate that foul play was involved, however, cannot completely rule out that there may have been an accident, or some other unknown.

"We suspect that someone may have been involved in her disappearance, however, no evidence was ever located that confirmed that theory."

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