Special Reports

Family marks 1 year since Susan Cox Powell disappeared in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Family members are marking the anniversary of a 28-year-old Utah mother of two's disappearance with hopes that she'll be found.

Police in West Valley City say they're still following tips and treating Susan Cox Powell's disappearance as a missing person case.Sgt. Mike Powell told the Deseret News on Monday that police have put more than 8,000 hours into the investigation and have handled hundreds of phone calls from the public.

The woman's father, Charles Cox of Puyallup, says police update the family weekly.

Susan Cox Powell was reported missing Dec. 7, 2009, when she didn't show up for work.

Her husband, Josh Powell, said he saw her a day earlier, when he left to go camping with the couple's boys, ages 2 and 4. He has been the only person identified as a "person of interest" by police but has not been charged with any crime.

Josh Powell has since returned to Washington state, where the couple met. They moved to Utah six years ago.

To mark the anniversary of her disappearance, friends of Susan Cox Powell held a reading and used-book drive at the West Valley City elementary school where the couple's children would have attended.

"We wanted to celebrate Susan's most important role in her life and the thing that meant the most to her, and that is that she was a wonderful mother to her two little boys. She loved to read to them," Kiirsi Hellewell, a friend who organized the reading.

On Tuesday, friends passed out fliers about the case at a public library in West Valley City.

Josh Powell and his father, Steve Powell, marked the anniversary handling media interviews, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The parents of Susan Cox Powell marked it privately at their home in Puyallup, as did her sister.

The disappearance has created a lot of strain within Josh Powell's family and between Josh Powell and the parents of Susan Cox Powell.

Charles and Judy Cox have not seen their grandchildren since April 10, they said. Also, Josh Powell seldom responds to their e-mails or phone messages.

Jennifer Graves, Josh Powell's sister, has not spoken with her brother or father since January after asking pointed questions about Susan Cox Powell's disappearance. Josh Powell refused to answer most of them, claiming his lawyer told him not to talk, she said.