Stephen L. Hughes
(By SCOTT BONTZ Standard-Examiner staff)
Editor’s Note: This article about Stephen L. Hughes, former Malad resident, recently appeared in the Ogden Standard-Examiner. Written by Scott Bontz, Standard Examiner Staff, It is reprinted for Idaho Enterprise readers. Stephen L. Hughes was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen J. Hughes, 651 North 200 West, Malad.
BOUNTIFUL – One hundred and two people were reported to Bountiful police as missing in 1986. One hundred and one were found.
Saturday, a family memorialized the one who was not. His name was Stephen L. Hughes and his disappearance two years ago remains a mystery.
“We really don’t know anything other than he is missing,” said Bountiful Police Detective Diana Stevens.
Hayley Repke, Hughes’ daughter, said she succeeded in having him declared legally dead in November so his estate could be used to support her 16-year-old sister and 14-year-old brother.
In a letter to the 2nd District Court, written for a proceeding to declare Hughes dead, Police Chief Larry Higgins said Hughes may have been ‘the victim of foul play.
Hughes’ mother, Margaret Hughes, of Malad, Idaho, said of the police, “They’re just about as baffled as we are.”
On January 12, the day he disappeared, Hughes trained with the Air National Guard in Salt Lake City. He was a senior master sergeant 11 months from retirement.
Hughes, would be 47, also was an engineer for AT&T and owned a Bountiful automobile body repair shop. He had blueprints to expand the shop, said Repke, the last family member to see him. Hughes was divorced in 1980
Repke, of Layton, had recently begun work for the Air National Guard. 0N the 12th, her father visited her on the new job. Since he would be training with the Guard again the next day, he planned to meet her for lunch.
Hughes later evidently drove to his Bountiful condominium, changed out of his fatigues and took his pickup truck to the body shop. Telephone records show he called a friend in Kansas.
Stevens would not talk about the call and others Hughes made. Repke said he doesn’t think there was anything extraordinary about the conversation.
Hughes has not been seen or heard from again by the people he knew.
His bank accounts were left untouched.
.Hughes’ truck was found in front of the body shop. Left on the dashboard were keys to the condominium.
Repke, now 21, said this would be unlike her father. She said he was careful with his possessions. When he went overseas with the Air National Guard, he asked her to periodically check on the home, where he lived alone, and flush the toilet to keep the pipes clear.
Several affidavits filed in court also testified to Hughes’ dependability.
In the snow in front of the shop, Repke said, there were tire tracks from a vehicle that appeared to have pulled up behind her father’s truck.
Repke said there were several things missing from the condominium. They were “sentimental things” Hughes had collected on duty with the Guard, she said, including swords and a shield from Spain, German figurines, and a Korean blanket which was intended to be a gift for Hughes’ mother.
Left at the home were four prescription medications Repke said her father, who had heart trouble, took on schedule, without fail.
All these things make the daughter suspect foul play.
“There’s no way he would just walk off,” she said. “He was too conscientious of his things. It’s really hard to believe that he just disappeared. I don’t think he would give up all he’d worked for.”
But Stevens said there were no signs of struggle at the shop or Hughes’ home, and she said it has never been proved that things were taken from the condominium.
“They (Hughes’ family) think some items were missing,” she said.
Both said they were unaware of Hughes having any enemies^
The detective said information about Hughes was entered in a national police computer system, with no results. Stevens said she was unaware of any threat to him. She said she has
“He was well-liked out here,” Catoe said.
Repke and her grandmother criticized the police.
“I’ve been quite disappointed with them,” Hughes’ mother said.
“They were really slow about investigating,” Repke said. “I really feel the Bountiful police did me and my dad an injustice.”
Stevens said the reaction is typical from the family of a missing person.
“It’s just totally frustrating,” she said. “There’s nothing you can do to appease them.”
Repke said she has hiked the mountains east of Bountiful looking for her father.
“Now,” she said, “I don’t think he’s alive. I know he’s not alive.”
Hughes’ mother said, “I’ve got all the hope and faith, but in the back of my mind I feel he’s been killed.”
Military memorial services were held for Hughes at 4 p.m. Saturday, January 9th, at the Utah Air National Theater, 765 North 2200 West, east of Salt Lake International Airport. At that time hundreds of his former friends and relatives eulogized and paid tribute to him.
Two years after Hughes’ disappearance, Repke said, “I feel now (that) we have a death certificate. It’s time to honor him.”
A special memorial in the name of Stephen L. Hughes has been started by the Air National Guard. He was a recipient of a Bronze Medal in 1977.
Stephen L. Hughes