Police suspect two Utah teens who disappeared last month were victims of foul play.
Riley Powell, 18, and 17-year-old Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson were reported missing Jan. 2 after they didn’t return to the Eureka home they lived in after leaving Dec. 30. According to the Gephardt Daily, the pair were boyfriend and girlfriend.
The dark blue 1999 Jeep Cherokee they had been driving was found hidden and obscured by trees on January 11, near Cherry Creek Reservoir, about 14 miles southwest of Eureka.
Investigators discovered that two of the Jeep’s tires on the passenger side had been punctured. Police also found a camouflage tie-down strap stuck in the driver’s side of the vehicle, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by PEOPLE.
Around the time of their disappearance, investigators say a witness saw a Chevy pickup truck used by the boyfriend of Powell’s mother pulling a Jeep described as “the one Riley is always driving.”
“It is suspected that the blue Chevy truck,” the affidavit states, “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.”
On January 16, police searched the home of Powell’s mother and her boyfriend. There, investigators found a tie-down strap “that was identical in camouflage pattern to the one stuck in the jeep leaf spring in the bed of the truck matching the description of the truck that was described by the witness as pulling Riley’s Jeep,” the affidavit states.
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According to the search warrant, Powell’s mother was among those interviewed about the case. However, her boyfriend refused to cooperate.
The affidavit also states that three people who were interviewed gave differing stories about where Powell’s mother and her boyfriend were on New Year’s Eve. Powell’s mother told investigators she was at home but two others said she was not.
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On Monday, Juab County Sheriff’s officials announced that the investigation had “significantly advanced” since the search warrant was issued but no arrests have yet to be made, the Gephardt Daily reported.
Juab County Sheriff Doug Anderson told the Deseret News that they were following up on several “investigative leads” but there were no persons of interest. He told the paper that several search warrants had been served in the case and investigative leads were coming in daily.
Otteson’s aunt Amanda Hunt told the paper that the case is “not being treated as a homicide investigation yet because there’s nothing to indicate there’s been a homicide.”
She added, “But it’s clear there’s foul play.”