Steve Bechtel response to Wroe family
Missing woman's husband proposes open meeting
Steve Bechtel, husband of missing Amy Wroe Bechtel, is apparently willing to meet with law enforcement and family members to forward the now two year old investigation.
Only days after Amy's family issued an appeal to Bechtel to end his stalemate with law enforcement, the Lander man said he was willing to make an effort to cooperate with investigators. Virtually since Amy disappeared July 24, 1997, after a run in a Wind River Mountains west of Lander, her husband has been critical of law enforcement's handling of the case and has refused to talk with investigators. He refused from the outset to take a lie detector test.
Roger Rizor, the lead investigator in the Fremont County sheriff's office, said Monday that Bechtel called him to set up a meeting. Details of when it will be and who will attend have yet to be worked out.
Bechtel later told the Riverton Ranger that he would like to have an "open meeting" with law-enforcement that involves the press and those with close ties to his wife.
"I am willing to try to help out, and I always have been," he said. "Egos and emotions and different ideas always get in the way of progress, especially in a case where things are so emotionally charged and difficult."
Rizor said whether a meeting actually takes place will depend on whom both Bechtel and law enforcement want to be there. Risor said the press will not be invited.
Rizor said his hope for such a meeting would be "to get questions answered that we have of Steve. And will either be able to say, ' yes, he is a prime suspect,' or ' know, he's been cleared.'"
Bechtel told the Ranger that he thinks progress hinges on investigators' willingness to come forward and admit their mistakes. He cited violating people's privacy, using a "bogus" affidavit for a search warrant and slandering his name by labeling him a suspect without adequate evidence.
"The whole thing has become far, far removed from looking for a girl," Bechtel said. "It's almost a game of war and egos and who said what. Although I'm frustrated with the investigation, I need to work with them."
Amy Wroe Bechtel, age 24 at the time of her disappearance, is the daughter of Duane and JoAnne Wroe of Powell.
Duane Wroe said Wednesday he is ambivalent about Bechtel's and Rizor's obviously different objectives for the proposed meeting, but is encouraged by recent events.
"We're delighted that he's made an indication that he's willing to communicate," Wroe said. That accomplishes something, "I don't care how they go about it."
JoAnne Wroe was also upbeat. "I was so glad to see Steve's response... It made me feel good. I think maybe it's going to give some positive results, and that's what we wanted.
"It's between Steve and law-enforcement," she said. "They need to be able to ask questions of him, and until now Steve, because of being represented by an attorney who says no, has not been willing to be interviewed."
She noted that, while officials interviewed Bechtel a few times immediately after Amy's disappearance, "the questions initially asked were different than the questions they need to ask him now.
"I'm sure a lot of the questions that need to be asked are going to be really difficult for state," she said. "I hope it's something that Steve will be willing to work with."
Additionally, "I am hoping that law-enforcement handles it anyway that won't push the anyway," she said.
In a twist on recent developments, a banner believed to be stolen after Amy's family erected it in Lander showed up Tuesday in the Wroes' mailbox.
According to JoAnne Wroe, the owner of a business in Lander who previously gave permission to display the banner on his building apparently changed his mind, to the banner down and returned a without notifying them.
Since then, she said another business owner of has indicated he would be willing to display the banner, which displays a picture of Amy, along with the message, "It's Time to Break the Silence."
Wroe said she has worked with Bechtel to establish a charitable trust fund with the money donated by family and friends for Amy's recovery.
"This is to ensure that the money to be used for recovery purposes, to help Amy and she is found or to establish a University of Wyoming scholarship in her name if she is not found," she said.
Money from the fund is currently being used to pay for the toll-free recovery hotline and for mailing expenses.
A new WebSite has been established at www.whereisamy.com or www.amywroebechtel.com with current information and photos.