(Wyoming) - We are lucky to live in a state that has a low population, wide open spaces and rugged wilderness, but sometimes these factors make it difficult for law enforcement to solve mysteries.
Here are five suspicious unsolved deaths, disappearing women and perplexing murders that haunt Wyoming:
1. The Unsolved Death of Ivan Schafer in the Teton Wilderness
In September of 1995, 65-year-old Ivan Schafer went elk hunting in the Teton Wilderness with two other hunters, Allen Brown and Jim Keen. All three men were from the Lander/Riverton area. Schafer was last seen on September 20, 1995, and authorities still have no idea what happened to him.
The detectives and search and rescue teams had very few leads until 1998, when a hunter in the area stumbled upon part of a skull. The skull was found five miles from the hunters’ original campsite, well out of the 1995 search area, and was later proven to be Schafer’s.
“We have no evidence of suicide, we have no evidence of homicide, but we also have no evidence that he was accidentally eaten by a bear,” said Detective Dave Hodges, who is on the case for the Teton County Sheriff’s Office.
20 years later, Crimestoppers is still offering up to $5000.00 for information leading to the resolution and closure of the case based on facts and evidence. Call Crimestoppers at 307-733-5148, you do not have to give your name.
Read Buckrail's full article on Schafer: "Unsolved death still puzzles Teton County Sheriff’s Office 20 years later, authorities seek public information on case."
2. The Disappearance of Kristi Lynn Richardson
The Casper community continues to wait and wonder what happened to Kristi Lynn Richardson. On Tuesday, October 7, 2014 Richardson went missing from her Casper home where her cell phone was found. Currently, she is missing under suspicious circumstances. She is described as a 61-year-old female, approximately 5’4″ tall around 100 pounds. There have been numerous air and land searches around Natrona County and Wyoming with no leads.
In June 2015, the reward was increased to $250,000 for information that leads to a conviction in her disappearance. The family believes strongly that there are individuals who know things who haven’t come forward. The family hopes that the increased reward amount, a life-changing amount of money, will encourage people to speak up.
“The investigation will never end, as long as we are getting leads,” said Casper Police Lt. Chris Hadlock. “When we get a case like this, it can slow down, always got to pursue those [kinds of cases], we are always looking for the break.”
If you have any information, please contact Casper Police Department 307-235-8278.
3. Missing Amy Wroe Bechtel of Lander
Amy Wroe Bechtel disappeared the afternoon of July 24, 1997, while checking out the route of a 10K race she was planning along the Loop Road in the Shoshone National Forest above Lander. An exhaustive weeks-long search of the Loop Road and environs failed to find any evidence of the petite runner, who starred as a University of Wyoming track athlete. She was waiting tables at the former Sweetwater Grill in Lander at the time of her disappearance.
The investigation remains active. One recent lead investigators are still following involves convicted killer Dale Wayne Eaton, who was allegedly in the area at the time Bechtel disappeared.
“If he was up there, I have no doubt he was involved,” Fremont County Sheriff's Deputy John Zerga said. But the sheriff’s department detective also said Eaton has been uncooperative. Eaton is housed at the Wyoming State Penitentiary. He was convicted in the kidnapping, rape and murder of college co-ed Lisa Marie Kimmell of Billings in July of 1989 near Casper.
4. The Murder of Mary Lynn Andersen
"Were you in Gillette in 1982? Did you know Mary?" This is the title at the top of the poster that the Campbell County Sheriff's Office distributed in an effort to find information about the death of Mary Lynn Andersen.
According to the poster, "On August 10, 1983, the body of an unidentified female homicide victim was discovered at the state gravel pit on North Highway 59 by state highway department employees. The Wyoming State Crime Lab estimated that the female's death occurred approximately one year prior to the discovery of the body. In June of 2014, through DNA samples submitted by her parents, sister and daughter, the female was identified as Mary Lynn Andersen, who was reported missing to the Becker County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota in 1986."
According to a missing persons article published in the Gillette News Record, the crime lab had reported that her death was "caused by a blow to the right front of the head over the eye."
5. 16-year-old Saphron Diehl-Power of Cheyenne
Saphron Diehl-Power went missing in March 2015 after being last seen March 17 when she was 16 years old. She had just had her birthday the weekend before on March 11. She was last seen wearing a black T-shirt with shamrock on front, blue jeans, and black and purple sneakers.
She is now 17 years old and is about 5'3" and weighs around 130 pounds. She is currently listed on the Missing Persons Database.
Since her disappearance, there seems to be no update on her whereabouts. Read Shortgo's story on her here.
Feature Photo: Last photo taken of Ivan Schafer before she went missing. h/t Teton County Sheriff's Office / Pitchengine Communities
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