The Park Record editorial, January 6-8, 2010 |

The Park Record editorial, January 6-8, 2010

Families of the missing find new hope on the Internet

In West Valley City, friends and family of Susan Powell, who has been missing since Dec. 6, are pinning their hopes on new technology. They have turned to the Internet to collect any information that may shed light on the 28 year old’s disappearance. Their Facebook page, which provides links to a Twitter site and displays almost 100 photos of Powell, has already attracted 30,000 people and police say the increased exposure it is giving the case is beginning to pay off.

And in St. George Utah, another family is trying to cast a wide net in hopes of learning what happened to their 30-year-old son, Steven T. Koecher, who disappeared Dec. 13. Koecher’s abandoned car was discovered in a residential neighborhood in Henderson, Nevada. He hasn’t been heard from since.

Both groups are no doubt thinking about the successful rescue of Elizabeth Smart, made possible, in part, by the extensive media coverage that led two bystanders to recognize the young captive on a public street in her hometown nearly nine months after she was kidnapped.

Many had given up on finding Smart. But her family had not. They continued to press police, investigators and the media to keep Elizabeth’s face in their hearts and minds and eventually their tenacity paid off.

We can only hope for a similar result in the two most recent disappearances and the Internet could be the perfect tool to make it happen. In cases of missing relatives, free access to sites like Facebook may help empower families to keep the searches alive even after law-enforcement agencies relegate their cases to the unsolved file.

To make it work, though, the public needs to feel empowered too. Look at the web pages devoted to Powell and Koecher and commit their images to memory. The link to the Friends and Family of Susan Powell Facebook page is:

Those who also want to help the Koechers can link to: or

If it was your brother, sister or child, you would want to have as many eyes as possible on the lookout too.

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