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Crews searching recycling center in Washington for clues in Powell case

Published: Sunday, Feb. 12 2012 3:43 p.m. MST

Volunteers search landfill for papers dropped off by Josh Powell.

King TV

PUYALLUP, Wash. — Volunteers spent Sunday sifting through paper at a recycling center, searching for possible clues in disappearance of West Valley City mother Susan Cox Powell.

Pierce County Sheriff's detective Ed Troyer said volunteers with experience in evidence searches have been searching the facility at the landfill near Puyallup since 8 a.m. and likely will continue until dark.

The sheriff's office is following up on a tip that the missing woman's husband, Josh Powell, may have dumped papers there before killing himself and his two sons a week ago.

"We had the tip awhile back, but we didn't go out there because we've had better things to do until today," Troyer said.

Josh Powell had long been a person of interest in his wife's disappearance, though he was never charged. Susan Cox Powell went missing in December 2009 and is presumed dead.

Police say Josh Powell killed his two sons by dousing them and his house with gasoline and then setting the house on fire on Feb. 5. He also struck 7-year-old Charlie and 5-year-old Braden with a hatchet before starting the fire, according to police.

Funeral services for the two boys were held Saturday in Tacoma.

Troyer said it's unlikely crews will find anything of note at the recycling center.

"We may not find anything," he said, "and it may just be old paperwork or cable TV bills."

On Friday, investigators released new information on evidence collected from a storage unit rented by Josh Powell — including a pink comforter with a blood stain on it. Preliminary tests confirmed the stain is blood, though it's unknown whether it is human or animal.

E-mail: jpage@desnews.com

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