Notebook contained threats against Susan Powell, sources say
West Valley police label uncooperative husband, Josh Powell, as 'person of interest'
Chen Wang, Deseret News
WEST VALLEY CITY — A notebook that Susan Powell kept in her desk at work, possibly containing information about her relationship with her husband, was among the items seized by investigators last week, several sources have told the Deseret News.
The notebook, according to one source, detailed threats allegedly made about a year ago against the missing West Valley woman.
Powell has been missing since Dec. 6. Police have not ruled out the possibility of foul play but also do not have any evidence pointing them in any one direction. Her husband, Josh Powell, meanwhile, has remained the focus of media and public scrutiny.
Police confirmed Wednesday that they now consider him a "person of interest" in the case.
"We don't have any solid evidence at this time that a crime has been committed, but there is circumstantial evidence that foul play cannot be ruled out," West Valley Assistant Police Chief Craig Black said.
Black said Josh Powell is not the only person of interest. Black declined to discuss who the others are in the case.
"We're not focused in on one person at this point," he said.
Black is quick to point out, however, that a person of interest is not the same as a suspect. As an example, he said that a neighbor who might offer important information about the case would be considered a "person of interest." Everyone else who has been labeled as a person of interest, besides Powell, however, has been forthcoming with information, he said.
Powell was interviewed by police late Tuesday and submitted to a search warrant to collect DNA.
Despite his voluntarily showing up for an interview, police say he is still not being completely forthcoming, refusing to answer specific detailed questions such as exactly where he was camping the night of Dec. 6 and whether his wife had any close friends with whom she might have confided.
"He's not being cooperative," said Black. "He's answering very general descriptive-type questions. He would not submit to questioning about specific questions we think would be helpful to finding his wife."
Josh Powell said he went camping about midnight on Dec. 6 with the couple's two children, ages 2 and 4. They drove to an area in Tooele, where they slept in their minivan, Powell told police. The temperature that night was well below freezing.
The next day, Josh Powell returned to his home in the afternoon. Susan Powell was nowhere to be found.
Josh Powell talked to police that night and the following day. He was scheduled for a follow-up interview Monday but did not show up for that meeting, based on the advice of his newly hired attorney, Scott Williams.
When Powell did meet with police Tuesday, Black said, investigators did not get many of the answers they were hoping for and have requested to speak to him again.
"We're interested in what he has to say," Black said. "We expressed to him we would like to have a chance to ask him more specific and detailed questions. He said he'd like to think about it. Right now, he's giving us general ID questions, such as he was camping along the Pony Express Trail. That's 2,000 miles long. We haven't been able to find anything."
"We'd appreciate some more detailed cooperation from him," Black said. "There's a lot of questions concerning his camping trip, what Susan's state of mind was on Sunday (Dec. 6), has she ever talked to him privately about leaving. Those are areas Josh could help with. We're not marriage counselors. If she wants to be away, that's her business. We just would like to have information that helps us find her."
A friend of Susan Powell, Rachel Marini, told KSL Radio Wednesday that after the Powells moved to Utah from Washington state, Josh Powell became very controlling.
"She had a lot of friends and family members telling her, 'Why don't you just end it?' But she was committed to her marriage," she said. "I don't think that Josh is capable of hurting her, but I don't think she would leave her kids. She never would have left her kids."
Black acknowledged investigators have heard accusations being made on Internet blog sites, in the media and other second- and third-hand reports from friends and neighbors about possible marital problems between Josh and Susan Powell. But Black said he was not aware of any specific threats that might have been made.
As of Wednesday, Black said, police would simply like to work more in a partnership with Josh Powell to find his wife and clear up some of the unanswered questions.
"If we all have the same interest, to find Susan, if that's the case, we'd like to work in conjunction. He has his own reasons for acting the way he has. As a community, we can hypothesize all we want. But if his interest is to find Susan, we hope he would come in and help us out and answer questions that can give us further leads and direction," Black said.
Detectives returned to the Powells' neighborhood, near 6200 West and 3900 South, Wednesday to once again go over the area, knock on doors, and look for any possible leads in the case.
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