For two weeks, the friends and family of 17-year-old Breezy Otteson and 18-year-old Riley Powell have been searching for some trace of the young couple. But the only clue they’ve found points to a deeper and more sinister mystery.Screenshot/Fox 13 News
As the Salt Lake Tribune reports, the teens had been visiting family in Toeele, Utah — about 60 miles away from the home they shared in Eureka. On the morning of December 30, Otteson and Powell, who had been dating for about four months, got into their car and started for home.
They never arrived.
When it was clear the couple had gone missing, the family reported the disappearance to law enforcement in both Toeele and Eureka and a search began. Civilian search parties were organized and the Juab County Sheriff’s Office began combing the area for some sign of the teens.
Otteson’s aunt, Amanda Hunt, told Fox 13 News that the pair were not the type to run off without a word and that Otteson’s disappearance from social media was alarming:
“Breezy would not go without talking to her sisters, and knowing the details that there’s no social media activity, there’s no phone activity, there’s no credit card activity or debit card activity.”
Hope remained even after word got out that the couple’s abandoned Jeep Cherokee had been found near a reservoir about 14 miles from Eureka. Search crews scoured the area near the car. Meanwhile, Powell’s aunt told the Tribune her nephew is an experienced outdoorsman who “knows what to do for survival.”
However, investigators found the circumstances in which the car was left to be “highly suspicious.” The Jeep was hidden in a group trees, with two flat tires, the couple’s belongings still inside, and the windows down. In the video below, Sheriff Douglas Anderson told Fox 13 News:
“The condition of the vehicle and its position, we believe that jeep was placed there intentionally.”
“We have a strong, strong indication that there’s foul play here.”
Because the condition of the car suggests it was not abandoned by the couple while looking for help, authorities decided it’s unlikely that Otteson and Powell are lost.
In a press release, the Juab County Sheriff’s Office said they have called off the search and rescue operation, though they are still investigating the pair’s disappearance.
The news was devastating to the couple’s friends and family, who say they’re not ready to give up the search. Powell’s aunt told Fox 13 they are still offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the missing teens, but are aware there might not be a happy ending:
“Obviously, after two weeks of searching and no news, somewhere in our hearts we felt like that was probably something that’s crossed our minds. Every possibility has crossed our mind. The unknown — it’s a scary thing.”
Though they’re not sure what the next step will be, the family is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to Powell and Otteson. On the Facebook page created to organize the search, they wrote:
We are unsure of what the future brings, but what we do know is we are not going to let their story die. We are going to bring these kids home or find the closure we all need.
If you have any information about the disappearance or whereabouts of Breezy Otteson or Riley Powell, contact the Juab County Sheriff’s Office at (435) 623-1344 or the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office at (435) 882-5600.