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Few details on missing West Valley mom Susan Powell — just anxiety

Published: Thursday, Dec. 10 2009 12:00 a.m. MST

WEST VALLEY CITY — Susan Powell is a devoted mother with a can-do attitude.

Described as self-sufficient and hardworking, she bakes her own bread, grows her own garden and cans her own vegetables, all while raising her two sons and working at Wells Fargo Financial.

She's one who would never want to give those who love her cause to worry, family members say. But the more time passes with no sign of Powell, it's becoming harder not to worry.

Powell, 28, has been missing since Sunday. An attempt-to-locate bulletin was issued Monday for Powell, her husband, Josh, and her boys, Braden and Charlie, ages 2 and 4. Eventually, Josh Powell and the two boys turned up. But Susan Powell is still missing.

West Valley police are being very tight-lipped about the case. They have asked for the public's help to find her, yet won't say where or when or how the husband and children were found or where they had been. Investigators have also declined to answer questions about whether foul play is suspected or what Josh Powell has told police during interviews, though they did say that all of the Powell family's vehicles were accounted for.

"We're looking at it across the whole spectrum," said West Valley Police Capt. Tom McLachlan.

Susan Powell's father, Chuck Cox, said the family hasn't heard from his daughter since Saturday, when she was in touch with her sisters. The third of four girls, Susan Powell sounded fine in those phone calls, Cox said. She was looking forward to Christmas.

Cox, who lives in Washington state, said he spoke with Josh Powell about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday. He said his son-in-law "was a little upset" as he informed Cox that his wife was missing. Cox said Josh Powell told him he had last seen his wife around 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

Family members have no theories about what may have happened to her, Cox said. They just know that she's not communicating with family, friends or police, which is uncharacteristic.

Cox said there is "no way" his daughter is missing on her own accord, considering the strain and stress her absence is causing others. He is certain that if she was able to respond and reassure those she loves, she would.

Many friends are also concerned for her, he said, noting that a Facebook group created for Susan Powell Tuesday night now has more than 100 members.

Her purse and cell phone are still at her home, Cox said. If there had been some argument or if she had been separated from her family somehow, there were many friends whom she could have turned to.

"There are a bunch of folks out there all wanting to help out and stuff, who are willing to help no matter what it would be," Cox said. "I'm confident that she would reach out to these people. And she certainly wouldn't leave her boys."

The Powells were married in April 2001. When the pair moved to Salt Lake City about five years ago, she earned a stockbroker's license and landed a job at Fidelity Investments, Cox said. When she failed to show up for work Monday at Wells Fargo Financial, there was further cause for concern.

Cox said his daughter and her husband are "self-sufficient" and good at working through their issues together. He said they haven't had any major problems that he is aware of. When he heard his daughter was missing, it seemed to him to have come out of the blue.

"I wasn't aware of any serious issues," Cox said. "They've had issues and trials, just as any family has had, but she's been positive and they've been able to get through it."

Melanie Kloepfel knew the couple when they were first married in Washington. She said they were a "fun, active" pair and that Susan Powell was "vibrant" and "always willing to share." She said her contact with the couple was reduced mostly to Facebook after they moved, but said Susan Powell appeared to focus on family, faith and gardening.

Cox said Powell's sons are currently staying with an aunt, having a "cousin sleep?over" for the time being.

West Valley police are continuing to interview Josh Powell as well as Susan Powell's parents in Washington, said McLachlan. A phone call to the Powell house was not returned.

She is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information is asked to call 801-840-4000.

e-mail: emorgan@desnews.com

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