Facebook post claims mother, boyfriend not persons of interest in case of missing couple
UTAH COUNTY — Family members of a couple missing since early January said they believed the discovery of two bodies Wednesday in an abandoned mine represented a turning point in the case.
Riley Powell, 18, and Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson, 17, were reported missing Jan. 2, after they had failed to show up in Eureka.
Wednesday, sheriff’s investigators from Utah and Juab counties said they believed the bodies discovered within the Tintic Standard Mine near the ghost town of Dividend were those of Powell and Otteson, though the remains had yet to be positively identified.
“Obviously at this point it appears foul play is involved,” Utah County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Darin Durfey said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
Amanda Hunt, aunt to Otteson, said if the bodies were positively identified, it would shift the family’s focus.
“We’re not searching for Breezy and Riley,” Hunt said. “It’s justice for Breezy and Riley.”
Investigators said they had received a tip Tuesday night which pointed them to the old mine.
They did not elaborate on who gave the tip.
Once the bodies were discovered, members of Unified Fire Authority’s heavy rescue team helped to remove the remains, which were said to be on a ledge about 100 feet down into the mine.
“Well, we have them back,” sighed Bill Powell, father of Riley Powell, during an exchange with Juab County Sheriff Doug Anderson.
No arrests had been made Wednesday, though detectives earlier in the day alluded to “persons of interest” in the case.
Late Wednesday night, a post on the “Searching for Breezy and Riley” Facebook page indicated there were two individuals of interest in the case, but that they were not Powell’s mother and her boyfriend.
Investigators declined to comment on the persons of interest.
Previously, search warrant affidavits stated that a witness had reported seeing a vehicle similar to the truck owned by the boyfriend of Powell’s mother towing Powell’s Jeep.
The Jeep was discovered hidden in some trees south of Cherry Creek Reservoir nine days after the couple was reported missing.
Family members said they hoped justice would ultimately be served in the case.
“Somebody wasn’t thinking right,” Bill Powell said. “It takes a pretty sick person to put somebody down a hole.”
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