Bear with me on this one. I know it sounds a bit far fetched, that a clean-cut church-going Mormon is a burglar, but I have some ideas. This is NOT a commentary on Steven’s character, as he seemed to be a decent person who had just been caught up in a bad economy and unlucky circumstances with employment.
Steven Koecher was last seen on December 13, via security cameras, in Henderson, Nevada, even though he was a resident of St. George, Utah. He had recent money problems. His parents were made aware by his landlord that he was three months late on rent. He was underemployed, passing out flyers part-time. His father had recently discussed his financial problems with him and Steven reportedly refused his father’s offer to pay rent.
True Noir has an exhaustive timeline that has been helpful with details in this case. We know that he parked his car basically in the center of a large retirement community in Henderson, NV. There is nothing there but houses and some golf greens.
We know he had previously visited Nevada. In fact, I think this is a clue that can be misread. On Thursday, December 10 (a few days before he goes missing), he stopped at an ex-girlfriend’s house in Ruby Valley, Nevada on a Thursday at 2 pm. Unannounced.
In the Disappeared episode, his mother says that he liked the ex-girlfriend and wanted to visit her. She ended up not being home.
But I ask you, in general, who is home on a Thursday at 2 pm? Sure, the ex-girlfriend’s parents could have been retired, but he was slightly on the young side for that, though not knowing her age, it is hard to speculate. Still, it is odd time to visit someone you don’t know well without calling first.
Since this was an ex-girlfriend, he would likely at least slightly familiar with the home and her parents. Maybe where valuables are, if the parents had money or not, or if the wife had any jewelry of value.
Instead, when he arrived, both parents were home and Steven ended up just visiting with them. Or casing for a future visit while in the house. I’m extremely curious if he asked them if they would be around for the holidays, as that is a popular time for burglaries.
Steven took two of these long drives that week. To Nevada and back. Why?
LAST KNOWN LOCATION
That brings us back to his last known location, southern Nevada at the dead-end street in the Henderson community. He left his car, locked, and walked away. He was last seen walking NORTH on Evening Lights Ave. There is literally nothing north of that street except houses. There is, however, a golf area that runs through north of Evening Lights, if you need something to duck into (though you would likely have to climb a fence in some parts). You could also potentially watch people head off to golf from their homes.
Steven was seen stopping at certain houses, but not all of them, carrying what looked like a manila folder. This manila envelope has been portrayed in some forums as evidence that he was meeting someone for a job opportunity, maybe carrying a resume.
HOWEVER. Let me tell you about my neighborhood, where we have a daytime burglar problem. They carry clipboards, free samples, manila folders, or sometimes wear fake city-worker type uniforms. They knock on doors to find out if someone is home, and if someone answers, they make up some business or stupid excuse. They look like any door-to-door salesperson to blend in. If no one is home, they break in and steal money and jewelry, iPads, etc. Small, fast cash items.
Also, why was he randomly stopping at some houses and not others? This fits the casing pattern of a burglar. Did he stop at homes that didn’t have cars in the driveway, where no one appeared home?
I don’t think Steven was stealing large ticket items like TVs. He may have just been looking for cash or jewelry, like most burglars.
I also don’t know that he was aware that it was a retirement community, just an affluent community. A retirement community would mean that a lot of people were home during the day, unless he was casing ahead of time for the holidays.
Look, I am not saying Steven was a bad person. I think his money issues got the best of him, and he didn’t want to disappoint his family or take money from them. He didn’t want handouts. He wanted to earn a living, and at the time, he was desperate and thought he could pull it off.
I think he met with foul play during an attempted burglary. He caught a homeowner off guard, and maybe he or the homeowner panicked. Steven could have run off injured after an altercation and became disoriented. Perhaps the homeowner panicked and buried the body, afraid of legal problems. Stranger things have happened. If you enter a home unannounced, you could literally walk into any sort of situation.
I don’t think he made it out of the retirement community alive.
THE CELL PHONE PINGS
As you might be aware, Steven’s cell phone pinged north of the area where he was seen walking, near some apartment complexes that some deem shady. I am not sure that, in general, the cell phone pings can totally be trusted, though I am not an expert. My understanding that in areas of higher populations, cell phone pings can ‘roll’ to the next available tower, and that it can also be highly inaccurate.
It is plausible that Steven ended up there, but it is a considerable distance without a car. I think it is more likely that whoever harmed him had his cell phone and disposed of it there.
THE LAST HOUSE
Because every house in the subdivision didn’t have security cameras, no one knows the last home that Steven Koecher visited. I don’t know how many security cameras were found in the area, or how many people volunteered their footage.
VOLUNTARY DISAPPEARANCE UNLIKELY
Due to the location his car was parked, it is unlikely he was planning his disappearance. Las Vegas has thousands of places closer to bus lines, airports, freeways that you could much more easily plan your getaway. Why start out somewhere so residential? It seems to me that where he parked indicated he had an interest in those homes.
I believe Steven Koecher’s dire financial straights maybe led him to consider a career (perhaps just beginning) in burglary. He possibly met with foul play during a burglary or casing a house.