Police treating missing mom as criminal case

December 16, 2009 12:34:33 PM PST
It was "out of character" for a Utah mom to disappear and her husband refuses to tell investigators exactly where he went, so investigators on Wednesday said they are treating it as a criminal investigation. Susan Powell, 28, was reported missing Dec. 7. Her husband, Josh Powell, has not been named a suspect but authorities are highly interested in him, said West Valley City Asst. Police Chief Craig Black.

"Every lead we've been offered so far would leave us to believe this is out of character and thus suspect foul play is involved," he said.

"Josh's unusual lack of cooperation for a husband looking for his wife with the police department, you know, it certainly causes us to ask questions as to why would he do things to exclude the resources that we can bring to the table to find Susan."

Susan Powell was reported missing when she didn't show up to work and her two children were not dropped off at day care. Josh Powell said he went camping with their boys, ages 2 and 4, in subfreezing temperatures about 12:30 a.m. that day and returned in the evening.

But Josh Powell has been uncooperative in providing any details that might explain what happened to his wife, Black said.

Among other things, Josh Powell hasn't specified where he went camping or where he was all day on Dec. 7, he said.

"That would be awesome if he would be willing to cooperate on that level and take us to his camp site," Black said.

Powell has told police he went camping in Simpson Springs on the historic Pony Express Trail in Utah's west desert -- an area of thousands of square miles -- that is now covered in snow.

Josh Powell on Tuesday did provide a DNA sample to police, as did several other family members.

Josh Powell's attorney, Scott Williams, a defense attorney who often defends high-profile clients, described the DNA testing as routine in such cases.

"On the possibility that some DNA of some evidentiary value is ultimately obtained, the police need a DNA profile from as many people as possible," he said.

Williams disputed allegations made by police on Tuesday that Josh Powell had been uncooperative. Black reiterated that Josh Powell has given them little information of value.

"What's being represented to the media is that he is staying in touch with us and he's cooperating with us. The involvement that he's giving us is helpful if we were to come across Susan and ID who she is," Black said.

"Any reason as to why she would've disappeared either of her own accord or because of some type of other foul play, he has not been cooperative with that."

The Powell home was locked when officers initially arrived and they broke in, fearing the family had suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Susan Powell's father, Charles Cox, said police found a wet spot in the home being dried by two fans, but police have declined to comment on that.

Investigators said there were no signs of forced entry at the home and they found Susan Powell's purse and cell phone there.

Susan Powell was last seen by someone other than her husband on Dec. 6 -- a family friend who ate dinner with her at the couple's home following church.


Load Comments