Susan Cox Powell last seen 2 years ago today

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 6 2011 11:40 a.m. MST

Kiirsi Hellewell picks up purple bracelets made in honor of Susan Cox Powell, who has been missing for almost two years, at the Hunter Library in West Valley City on Monday, Dec. 5, 2011.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

WEST VALLEY CITY — Tuesday marks two years since the last time since Susan Cox Powell was seen.

"I never thought we would get to this point and not be done when we began this whole process," said Jennifer Graves, the sister of Susan's husband, Josh Powell.

Kiirsi Hellewell, a friend who lived near the Powells in West Valley City, sent out a message on her Twitter account Tuesday: "Rough week emotionally. Today is December 6: 2 years ago this noon I walked home from church with Susan. How I wish I'd known."

On Dec. 6, 2009, Josh Powell said he took his two young sons on a late night camping trip on a cold night in Tooele County. When he returned the next day, his wife was gone.

Over the past two years, the investigation into Susan's disappearance has led police to Ely and Elko, Nev., Topaz Mountain and Josh Powell's home in Puyallup, Wash. It has seen a bitter family feud erupt between members of Josh Powell's own family who question his role in his wife's disappearance as well as a bitter custody battle between Josh Powell and Susan Powell's parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, over the Powell's two sons. And the investigation has seen the arrest of Josh Powell's father, Steven Powell, on child pornography charges.

Tuesday, West Valley police released a brief statement saying the case is still an active investigation.

"This case has been, and continues to be a top priority for the West Valley City Police Department and the team of detectives assigned to it full time. The investigation continues to progress with information developed from leads and other relevant evidence," the department said in the statement.

Police recognize Dec. 7 as the day Susan Powell was reported missing.

Tuesday, West Valley Police Sgt. Mike Powell said test results from items collected during an extensive search of the remote Topaz Mountain area in September — small items that appeared to be burnt pieces of wood — had been returned. However, Powell could not comment on any information about what was found or if there were human remains on the small pieces as cadaver dogs had originally detected, or if it had anything to do with the Susan Powell case at all.

In September, police noted that "human remains" could mean dried blood and not necessarily decaying flesh or tissue.

Chuck and Judy Cox, who currently have temporary custody of Josh and Susan Powell's two young boys, have declined all interview requests since gaining custody of the children, citing a court order telling them to stay out of the media spotlight.

They did, however, release a brief statement reminding people that their daughter is still missing, and adding that "Joshua Powell remains the only person of interest in Susan's disappearance."

"The case is still being actively worked and police assure the family that the case will be solved," the Cox family said in their statement.

Monday night in Utah, friends and other family members of Susan Powell held a charity event to mark the two year anniversary of her disappearance. They collected donations at the Christmas Box House.

Josh Powell is scheduled to appear on NBC's Dateline on Friday.

In September, West Valley Police Chief Thayle "Buzz" Nielsen told the Deseret News that it isn't exactly true that Josh Powell is their lone person of interest.

"We say, somehow, he's our only person of interest, that's really not true," the chief said. "Anything that comes up, we're looking at it."

Nielsen said investigators did not want to focus on one person and "forget the other stuff."

But the chief also noted that right now, all the outstanding questions in the case keep coming back to the husband.

West Valley police Tuesday also reminded the public there is still a $10,000 reward being offered for information leading to the whereabouts of Susan Cox Powell. Anyone with information can call police at 801-840-4000.

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

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