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Authorities to investigate new leads in the 1997 disappearance of Amy Wroe-Bechtel

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office says it believes Dale Wayne Eaton, Wyoming’s only death row inmate, may have had a role in the 1997 disappearance of Lander woman, Amy Wroe-Bechtel. A former UW track star, Bechtel disappeared near a running trail on the Loop Road outside Lander.

Detective John Zerga says Eaton, who was convicted of the kidnapping, rape and murder of Lisa Marie Kimmell in the Lil’ Miss case, has always been on the list of suspects.  Eaton’s execution was stayed last year and he isn’t talking.  But Zerga says a tip from Eaton’s brother may help prove he was in the Lander area when Bechtel went missing.

“We’ve talked with his family members, we’ve talked with some FBI profilers,” he says, “some cold case workers in Colorado, the detectives that did the Lil’ Miss case, and we believe through all our interviews there’s a good reason to believe Dale was involved with this.”

Zerga says the profilers believe Eaton could also be a good match for the Great Basin Serial Killer responsible for a slew of murders of women in Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado in the 80s and 90s.  

Zerga added that detectives plan to pursue another lead from a woman claiming to be psychic surrounding two possible areas of in interest near where Bechtel disappeared.

“This summer, we had a tip come in. It was a gal, she said she’s a psychic. And she took us to two areas up there that she felt that we should search,” says Zerga, “And I don’t know how their psychic stuff works or what it does, but granted, we follow up on all information that comes in.”

Zerga says they’ll take cadaver dogs to search the area once the snow melts.

Sara Hossaini is a reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She holds a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She brings a blend of documentary journalism and public interest communications experience developed through her work as a nonprofit multimedia consultant and Associate Producer on national PBS documentary films through groups such as the Center for Asian American Media, Fenton Communications and The Working Group. She likes to travel, to get her hands in the dirt and to explore her creative side through music, crafts and dance.
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