Tahlequah Daily Press

News Updates

March 17, 2014

Search for Adams comes up empty

Hours of careful excavation at a tract of land in the Keys area Friday ended with no sign of the remains of missing Northeastern State University student Stephan Adams.

Hours of careful excavation at a tract of land in the Keys area Friday ended with no sign of the remains of missing Northeastern State University student Stephan Adams.

“We actually excavated two areas and came up empty,” District Attorney Brian Kuester said Friday evening. “As far as that tract of land, there’s still some activity taking place, just not in terms of excavation. There are still some things that the investigators are following up on.”

Authorities on Thursday used a ground-penetrating radar on about 2 acres of land off of Horseshoe Bend Road. Kuester said investigators received new information recently that suggested Adams might have been buried on the land.

Adams disappeared on Dec. 13, 2004, after leaving NSU. He phoned his girlfriend that morning and told her he would be taking an unidentified man to the Keys area. He and his truck then vanished, and Adams was reported missing the following day.

More than nine years later, authorities remain determined to bring closure to the case.

“It’s disappointing, to say the least, but it certainly does not lessen our determination to find Stephan and find justice for him and his family,” Kuester said.

One tip to investigators suggested Adams had been killed on property neighboring the area that was searched Thursday and Friday.

Cadaver dogs previously searched the property, with no success.

After using the ground-penetrating radar on Thursday, authorities marked off two small areas where they believed an “anomaly” existed. At the time, Kuester was “cautiously optimistic” and suggested it was too soon to “jump to conclusions” about what was beneath the ground.

Members of the District Attorney’s Office received help from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the state’s office of the medical examiner on Friday.

The OSBI is offering up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in Adams’ disappearance.

Agents announced last December that they had pinpointed “persons of interest” in Adams’ assumed death and disappearance, but said they need corroborating information from the public to help close the case.

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


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; the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office at (918) 456-2583; or email the DA’s cold-case department at coldcase.tips@da27.org.


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