Amy Joy Wroe was born on the 4th August, 1972 in Santa Barbara, California, USA. It was at the University of Wyoming where she met her husband, Steve Bechtel, whom she married in 1996 after living together for three years. Amy graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in Excercise Physiology, and led a very active lifestyle – she was the captain of the UW cross-country track team, and competed in regional and national competitions after leaving college.
In 1996, Amy and Steve moved to Lander, Wyoming. They moved here because it was perfect for both cross-country runs and rock climbing, which Steve was an avid fan of. Both Steve and Amy worked part time at Wild Iris Mountain Sports, a local outdoor equiptment store. On top of this, Amy also served tables at SweetWater Grill, and taught a weight-lifting class at Wind River Fitness Centre.
On the morning of 24th July 1997, Amy left home at around 9:30am, telling her husband Steve that after she had finished teaching her weight-lifting class, she would run some errands around town. At approximatley 2:30pm that afternoon, Amy was seen at Camera Connection, a local photoshop in downtown Lander. She asked the shop owner about several photographs she planned to submit to the Sinks Canyon Photo Contest, and the owner recalls that Amy seemed “hurried” and kept checking her watch throughout the conversation.
This was the last confirmed time Amy was seen alive.
Steve returned home at 4:30pm that day, after spending the day rock climbing with a friend. At this time, it didn’t concern him that Amy wasn’t home – he thought she was just busy and would be home soon. But as it reached 10:30pm, and Amy still hadn’t retruned home, a worried Steve contacted the police.
The next morning, July 25th 1997, authorities found Amy’s white Toyota Tercel Wagon abandoned at the Burnt Gulch Road turnoff, in the Wind River Mountains near the Shoshone National Park. Police and Steve believe that Amy drove up here to prepare for a 10km hill climb that was taking place in the Shoshone National Park on 7th September that year.
Amy’s car was unlocked, and her keys, sunglasses and to-do list were found in the car, but her wallet was missing. A couple who were in the area at 5pm on July 24th, said that they saw a blonde woman running toward Burnt Gulch near Frye Lake at that time. The blonde woman was described as wearing black shorts, a light-coloured tank top and a fanny pack, which is similar to what Amy was wearing the day she disappeared.
With investigators still not sure what happened to Amy, all eyes turned to Steve.
Steve was able to provide an alibi for the time Amy went missing, which was confirmed by a friend with who he had spent the afternoon rock climbing, 70 miles away from Lander.
However, when police searched their house, they found several of Steve’s journals from High School filled with song lyrics and poems about death, power, and violence. Steve denied that they had anything to do with Amy’s disapperance, and on August 1st 1997 he stopped an interview with the FBI because an agent, who claimed to have evidence of the murder, accused him of killing his wife.
Authorities have said that Steve is not a central suspect in the case, but because he refused to take a polygraph test they can’t rule him out completely.
Another suspect in Amy’s case is Dale Wayne Eaton. Dale Wayne Eaton has been convicted of the kidnapping, rape and murder of Lisa Marie Kimmel in 1988.
Dale’s brother told police that he was in Lander at the time of Amy’s disapperance and that he was camping in the Burnt Gulch area where Amy’s car was found.
Eaton has never discussed the case, and he has never been charged in connection with her disappearance. He is currently serving a life sentence in Wyoming.
As of 2021, Amy’s whereabouts are still unknown. Amy, or her body, have never been discovered and police have no new leads to work from. Did Amy die accidentally whilst training, or did something more sinister happen to her?
If you have any information about Amy’s whereabouts, please contact the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office on (307) 332-5611, or contact Crimestoppers on (800) 442-8477.
Unsolved, missing, USA, true crime, mystery