Searchers dig up what looks like charred wood during search for Susan Powell

'It's not the hard evidence everyone wanted,' police say

Published: Saturday, Sept. 17 2011 10:00 a.m. MDT

Two officers who had been searching on ATVs all week were brought to the dig site Saturday to help sift through dirt. Two fresh cadaver dogs were also brought to the site. Both of those dogs hit positively on the dig area — making 11 of 11 cadaver dogs that indicated there was human decomposition in the area.

West Valley police, along with help from several agencies including the Juab and Millard County sheriff's offices, have been searching the central Utah desert since Tuesday. The area is approximately 25 miles away from Simpson Springs in Tooele County where Josh Powell, Susan's husband, said he took their two children camping the night before she disappeared.

Josh Powell is considered a person of interest in the case because police say he has not been cooperative in their investigation.

While officers continued investigating the suspected shallow grave, others continued searching other nearby areas. The search Saturday was about 10 to 15 miles away from the dig site, Merritt said. The Juab County Search and Rescue Team brought seven horses and four additional ATVs to the area, bringing the total number of people both searching and sifting on Saturday to about 40.

Chuck Cox, Susan's father who flew to Utah from his home in Puyallup, Wash., and was allowed to observe the dig site Friday, was not at the scene Saturday. He said, however, he did not plan to leave Utah until West Valley's investigation into the area around Topaz Mountain was completed.

Susan Cox Powell, 28, has been missing since Dec. 6, 2009.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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