Special Reports

Investigators searching new spot in Utah for Susan Powell

West Valley City, Utah, police have launched a search for missing woman Susan Powell near Delta, Utah, about 135 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.

Detectives were combing areas around Delta near Topaz Mountain on Tuesday based on information obtained related to the woman’s case, said Chuck Cox, Susan Powell’s father, in a phone interview from Puyallup.

West Valley City police Tuesday confirmed the search through a news release. Police told Fox 13 television about developments in the case in advance of that news release and the television station accompanied search teams to Delta.

“Both the Juab County Sheriff’s Office and the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office are providing assistance with this search effort,” wrote West Valley City police Sgt. Mike Powell, who is not related to Susan Powell. “It is anticipated that the current search efforts will continue for more than one day.”

Chuck Cox said police gave him a heads-up about the search.

“They said they are out near Delta. They have an area to look at. I think they are just following up on tips,” he said. “It’s another search and we’ll see what they find. It shows they are still definitely working hard on the case.”

Fox 13 reported that 12 police detectives and six cadaver dogs are involved in the search. Video footage showed police on all-terrain vehicles, riding through the rocky desert.

The search near Delta is the latest in what has been several searches for Susan Powell since her 2009 disappearance.

Susan Powell, 28, disappeared Dec. 6 from her West Valley City home and was reported missing Dec. 7 after she failed to show up to work. Her husband, 35-year-old Josh Powell, has said he took his young sons, ages 2 and 4, on a late-night camping trip to Simpson Springs in Tooele County, and when he returned, his wife was gone.

Josh Powell gave two interviews to police shortly after the disappearance but has not spoken to them since. West Valley City police call him the only person of interest in the case. Josh Powell and his sons moved back to Puyallup, Wash., to live with his father just weeks after the disappearance.

Josh Powell and his father, Steven Powell, have said they think Susan Powell ran away and is still alive. They’ve suggested she went to Brazil with Steven Koecher, a Utah man who disappeared from Henderson, Nev., around the same time Susan went missing.

West Valley City police last month went to Ely, Nev., to search abandoned mine shafts after receiving “recent information” related to the Powell case. They did not find anything, but called the search effort “a success.”

Josh and Steve Powell have repeatedly clashed with Susan Powell’s parents, Chuck and Judy Cox.

Last month, a Washington state court commissioner ordered Josh Powell and Chuck Cox to keep 500 feet away from each other. Josh Powell sought the restraining order against Chuck Cox, alleging that his father-in-law threatened him at a Lowe’s store and mouthed “You’re dead.” Chuck Cox said he merely asked his son-in-law if he could hug his grandchildren.

The court order bars the men from stalking or harassing each other, and keeps Cox from going within 500 feet of the school attended by his grandchildren.

Following the trip to Ely, West Valley City police served a search warrant on the Puyallup-area home of Josh and Steve Powell. They retrieved computer towers and several boxes of evidence, and now are in the process of sorting through the items, said West Valley City Police Lt. Bill Merritt.