Tahlequah Daily Press

December 13, 2013

Investigators: Progress in Stephan Adams case possible

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Investigators who have spent the past nine years looking for a missing Northeastern State student said Thursday that they have identified “persons of interest” in his disappearance.

Stephan Adams was 26 when he disappeared after taking a final exam at NSU Dec. 13, 2004. His last conversation was a phone call to his girlfriend around 11:30 that morning to say he was driving an unidentified man to the Keys area. Investigators have never determined that man’s identity.

 “This case has never gone cold; it’s been worked continuously for those nine years, specifically by [Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation] Special Agent Vicky Lyons, who spends countless hours on her own working this case, following up on leads,” Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King said Thursday.

More information is needed to find Adams and close the case.

“Since [2004], we have identified persons of interest in this investigation, and we do know that Stephan’s truck was found abandoned following that day,” Lyons said. “It was found in Cherokee County, and the people who found the truck stole the contents of the truck, but the truck itself has never been recovered.”

Lyons believes someone knows where Adams is, and can help solve this 9-year-old puzzle. More information could lead to arrests, Lyons said.

“We can’t identify the persons of interest at this point because it is an ongoing investigation,” Lyons said. “At this point, the motive is still unknown and under investigation. Once we identify the suspects and find Stephan, then we’ll likely know the motive at that point.”

Lyons said the persons of interest in Adams’ disappearance have criminal backgrounds.

“Knowing someone did something and proving someone did something are two different things, and we just need a few pieces of information to help complete this case,” King said. “We are in need of corroboration of information that’s been gathered over the last nine years. ... [We] are prepared to spend as many [hours] as necessary to bring justice and closure for Stephan and his family.”

The OSBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

“The key in this case, as it is in many of the cases that we work, is cooperation from citizens – citizens who will come forward and tell us what they know about the investigation,” she said. “That information, many times, can be kept confidential also, so we’re asking citizens who know about this to talk to us.”

Adams’ truck was a white, 1995-model Chevrolet with a license plate number of SCQ-714. The truck had chrome bed rails and a red pinstripe down the sides.

YOU CAN HELP

If you know anything about the disappearance of Stephan Adams in 2004, contact the OSBI at (800) 522-8017; the Tahlequah Police Department at (918) 456-8801; or the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office at (918) 456-2583.

jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com