Foul play suspected in disappearance of 2 teens missing since end of December

Riley Powell and Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson who went missing after leaving Tooele Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, and haven't been seen since, Juab County, Utah, retrieved Jan. 17, 2018 | Photos courtesy of Amanda Hunt, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Juab County officials and family members are searching for two teens who left Tooele in a Jeep on Dec. 30 at 9:30 a.m. to return home to Eureka, Utah, but they haven’t been seen or heard from since, leading investigators to believe foul play may be involved.

Map of areas searched Jan. 13 to locate Riley Powell and Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson who went missing Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, Juab County, Utah, Jan. 13, 2018 | Image courtesy of Amanda Hunt, St. George News

On Dec. 30, Riley Powell, 18, and Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson, 17, were headed to Eureka, where Otteson lives, traveling through Spanish Fork in a 1999 blue Jeep Cherokee, according to the Juab County Sheriff’s Office.

After not hearing from them, the teens were reported missing to sheriff’s offices in Juab and Tooele counties Jan. 2 by a family member, and the Juab County Sheriff’s Office then issued an Emergency Missing Adult Alert to all law enforcement nationwide.

The Jeep was recovered two weeks later after searchers flying near Cherry Creek spotted the vehicle “out of sight of the roadway” in a rural area of Juab County during an aerial search of the area, according to information released by officials.

There were no signs of the missing teens despite a search of the Cherry Creek Reservoir, which is about 14 miles southwest of Eureka, by search and rescue members and cadaver dogs shortly after the vehicle was located. Nor has there been any banking, cell phone or social media activity since they went missing.

Juab County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday they have reason to believe there may be foul play involved in the case of the two missing teens.

The condition and placement of the vehicle and how it was found by investigators is “highly suspicious,” the Sheriff’s Office said. These details, along with other evidence and investigative leads, have led detectives to believe the Jeep was dropped off in that location intentionally and not by the teens themselves.

Location on Cherry Creek Road where Jeep was found Jan. 11, but the teens are still missing, Juab County, Utah, Jan. 11, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Amanda Hunt, St. George News

“Foul play is strongly suggested,” Juab County Sheriff Doug  Anderson said in Tuesday’s statement.

Over the past several weeks there have been numerous searches conducted by both law enforcement and civilians on horseback, ATVs and on foot through numerous mines and multiple locations north and south of the reservoir, as well as the areas surrounding Eureka, Mammoth and Silver City.

A coordinated missing persons investigation was launched that included detectives and deputies from the Sanpete and Juab County Major Crimes and Drug Task Force Units, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office and the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office.

Due to suspicions surrounding the missing teens, search and rescue efforts, which have included Juab, Sanpete, Tooele and Utah County deputies, search and rescue teams from multiple agencies, the Utah Department of Public Safety and Civil Air Patrol members have been suspended, the statement said.

“The missing persons investigation remains active and still ongoing, and investigators are working hard to locate Riley and Breezy,” Anderson said in the statement.

Collage of Riley Powell and Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson who went missing after leaving Tooele Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 | Juab County, Utah, retrieved Jan. 17, 2018 | Photos courtesy of Amanda Hunt, St. George News

No further details were released due to the ongoing investigation.

The family is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the location of the teens, as indicated on a Facebook page set up by family members shortly after they were reported missing.

“We ask to continue sharing their story and spreading the word – as they could be anywhere,” the Facebook page said.

Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Otteson and Powell is being asked to contact the Juab County Sheriff’s Office at 435-623-1344 or Tooele County Sheriff’s Office at 435-882-5600.

This report is based on statements from police or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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  • comments January 17, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    Sounds real bad. And them being dead isn’t even a worst case scenario with something like this. There’s some real sadistic nutjobs out there. And you really can’t survive that long out in the desert without provisions, plus the cold is a factor. Best case scenario: they’re being held hostage and will be turned loose in the near future.

  • mctrialsguy January 17, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    Something should have been put out to the public sooner!! Hopefully they turn up safe. One can only hope. Our prayers go out to them. Hopefully the public gets on-board with the search and assistance. Just act as if they are someone you know.

  • LegalEye January 17, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    The photo above makes mention of the location of “Note Location”. What note? Was there a note left by the couple?

    • comments January 17, 2018 at 6:17 pm

      i looked into some of the other news articles a bit and found 0 on any note…….

  • mctrialsguy January 18, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Drones, cadaver dogs, posters everywhere, door-to-door, and so on…??

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