Authorities obtain search warrant for property of missing teen’s mother, boyfriend

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 — New developments in the investigation into the disappearance of two Utah teens occurred after police searched the missing teen’s vehicle and the residence of one of the teen’s mother.

According to search warrants released this week, Juab County detectives believe they found evidence during two separate searches that has moved the missing person case into a homicide investigation. Details of those searches became public after the warrants were unsealed by Tooele County’s 3rd District Court Monday.

The two teens, Riley Powell and Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson, both 18, were last seen leaving Tooele in a 1999 blue Jeep Grand Cherokee on the morning of Dec. 30. The couple planned to stop in Spanish Fork before going home to Eureka, where the two live with Powell’s grandfather.

A missing persons report was filed Jan. 2 after they failed to arrive home, and family members told police that after leaving Tooele Dec. 30, the teens were never seen or heard from again.

Court documents later revealed that the pair was seen in the Eureka area on the afternoon of Dec. 30 heading west on U.S. 6 out of town.

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

Two weeks later the Jeep they were traveling in was recovered after searchers flying near the Cherry Creek Reservoir spotted the vehicle “out of sight of the roadway” in a rural area of Juab County.

On Jan. 16, the sheriff’s office said foul play was suspected in the couple’s disappearance based on evidence collected at the scene where the Jeep was located. Additionally, the condition and placement of the vehicle, which appeared to investigators to have been staged, and the manner in which the SUV was located seemed “highly suspicious.”

Read more: Foul play suspected in disappearance of 2 teens missing since end of December. 

During the investigation, the search warrant states, a witness and close neighbor came forward and told police they observed a blue Chevrolet pickup truck pulling a Jeep described as “the one Riley is always driving,” heading south on Jan. 2 from the Lofgreen area in Tooele County. This account prompted investigators to obtain a search warrant for the vehicle.

The Jeep was originally found with three of its windows rolled down and both tires were flat on the driver’s side of the SUV, the warrant states. Upon closer inspection investigators noticed there were no tears in the sidewall of either tire, indicating the wheels were not moving at the time they were punctured.

Instead, both tires sustained identical cuts caused by a “smaller flat shaped object” the warrant said, that appeared to have been made intentionally.

On Jan. 16, Tooele County sheriff’s deputies and deputies from the Sanpete/Juab Major Crimes Task Force – armed with a second search warrant – arrived at the property where Powell’s mother, Mistie Carlson, lives with her boyfriend, Lee Shepherd, as well as Powell’s grandmother, Linda Powell, and her boyfriend, William “Clubby” Larson.

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

Police began searching the residence and property, during which they recovered multiple items, including drug paraphernalia, a receipt from a store in Eureka dated Dec. 28, a camouflage tie-down identical to one located on the abandoned Jeep and two letters addressed to Carlson from northern Utah addresses, each containing two blank sheets of paper.

Detectives also discovered that the blue Chevrolet pickup truck located on the property matched the vehicle description provided by the witness and that the truck belongs to Shepard, the boyfriend of the missing teen’s mother.

“It is suspected that the blue Chevy truck … was used to transport, conceal, hide and plant the victims’ vehicle in Cherry Creek at the location it was discovered, to give the illusion that the victims were indeed stranded,” investigators wrote in the warrant.

Three of the four residents who were present at the property when police arrived – Carlson, Powell and Larson – agreed to be interviewed by police at the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office. Shepherd “refused to come and stayed at the property,” the warrant states.

During questioning, differing accounts were provided to police regarding the whereabouts of Powell’s mother and her boyfriend on New Year’s Eve.

“Since the warrant service on January 16, 2018, the investigation has significantly advanced beyond the discoveries during the warrant service. In order to maintain the integrity of the investigation, current discoveries outside this warrant service cannot be released at this time,” Juab County Sheriff, Douglas Anderson, said in a statement released by the agency Monday.

No arrests have been made in the case.

Otteson’s family is offering a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to the couple’s discovery, 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.

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

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • comments February 8, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    shady shady

  • PlanetU February 8, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    WHY? Didn’t the trailer trash mother try to commit suicide in Wendover? Can we get a pic of the trailer, “mobile home?”

    • comments February 9, 2018 at 12:24 am

      i’ve not read into this much. so the plot involves hillbillies, drugs, and a trailer park?

      • 12345 February 9, 2018 at 6:53 am

        and another stupid from the amazing Bob

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