Oregon search turns up no sign of Susan Powell

Published On: May 16 2013 09:35:38 AM PDT
Susan Powell
SALEM, Ore. -

Police say they have found no trace of missing Utah mother Susan Powell at a rural Oregon site after spending two days searching.

Sgt. Mike Powell, spokesman for the West Valley City police in Utah, said Thursday police had exhausted the Oregon lead.

He told The Associated Press he believed investigators were wrapping up the search at the Oregon site near the town of Scotts Mills, northeast of Salem.

Authorities investigating the disappearance of Utah mother Susan Powell spent two days this week searching a rural Oregon property for her remains, Powell's father, Chuck Cox, said.

Cox said in an interview Wednesday night that the search didn't turn up any sign of his daughter. The property east of Salem, Ore., was in a remote area but had ties to the Powell family, Cox said.

"I'm disappointed," said Cox, who accompanied some of the search dogs on the hunt. "I just don't know where she is, but we'll keep looking for her."

Susan Powell was reported missing in December 2009 after she didn't show up for work. Her husband, Josh, maintained his innocence and said he took the couple's young boys on a midnight camping trip in freezing temperatures the night his wife disappeared.

In February 2012, Josh Powell locked a social worker out of his home at the start of a supervised visit, then killed himself and the couple's two young children, attacking his young sons with a hatchet and then setting the house ablaze. Days earlier, a court had ordered Powell to undergo an intensive psychosexual evaluation as part of a custody dispute.

Josh Powell was never charged in his wife's disappearance, but unsealed documents say authorities found Susan Powell's blood on a floor next to a sofa that appeared to have been recently cleaned, with two fans set up to blow on it. Investigators also found life insurance policies on Susan Powell and determined that Josh Powell had filed paperwork to withdraw her retirement account money about 10 days after her disappearance.

Anne Bremner, an attorney for the Cox family, said the brother of Josh Powell had said in a deposition that he had driven to Oregon and abandoned a vehicle there. The brother, Michael Powell, committed suicide earlier this year.

Bremner said she's still interested in seeing more work at the property, including the possibility of having volunteers go to the site to help search.

A spokesman for the West Valley City police in Utah, which is handling the Powell investigation, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Cox said he appreciated that investigators spent time on the Oregon search, saying it showed a dedication and determination to find his daughter.