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Susan Powell's father wants help searching for her along I-84

Published: Monday, Aug. 3 2015 9:33 p.m. MDT

Chuck Cox, father of missing West Valley mother Susan Cox Powell, is asking anyone along Interstate 84 between Tremonton and Pendelton, Ore., to distribute this flier as he begins a search of the area next week. (Chuck Cox) Chuck Cox, father of missing West Valley mother Susan Cox Powell, is asking anyone along Interstate 84 between Tremonton and Pendelton, Ore., to distribute this flier as he begins a search of the area next week. (Chuck Cox)

WEST VALLEY CITY — Now that the active police investigation into the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell is over, her father has a new idea about where to look for her body.

Chuck Cox said late Friday he believes his daughter might be found somewhere along Interstate 84 between Tremonton and Pendleton, Ore. — a route he suspects was possibly taken by his son-in-law Josh Powell and Michael Powell, the man's brother.

Cox hopes someone who knows the area may have an idea of where his daughter's body might be, and he plans to begin his search next week.

"I just believe that somebody may have seen something and can maybe help us zero in a little bit more on where she could possibly be, where they may have put her," Cox said. "It's a new hope, a new direction."

Chuck and Judy Cox hug at their home in Puyallup, Wash., Feb. 6, 2012, the day after their grandsons died in a fire at the hands of Josh Powell, their son-in-law. Chuck Cox plans to launch a new search for his missing daughter's body next week along I-84 between Tremonton in northern Utah and Pendleton, Ore. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Chuck and Judy Cox hug at their home in Puyallup, Wash., Feb. 6, 2012, the day after their grandsons died in a fire at the hands of Josh Powell, their son-in-law. Chuck Cox plans to launch a new search for his missing daughter's body next week along I-84 between Tremonton in northern Utah and Pendleton, Ore. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Susan Powell has been missing since December 2009 when she disappeared from her West Valley home and is presumed dead. Cox and police believe her husband Josh Powell killed her. Investigators this week said they believe Michael Powell had "intimate involvement" in her disappearance.

Josh Powell committed suicide in February of 2012 after murdering their two young sons. Michael Powell killed himself a year later in February of this year.

Cox sent a letter announcing his plans:

"I am Susan's father. Recently the West Valley City police released a large amount of their investigative files as they suspended their active investigation. Access to this new information gives me new hope in that we will have more eyes looking at and minds thinking about this information. After reviewing a lot of that information, it is clear to me that the most logical location to look for my daughter now is within a 200-mile-wide corridor along I-84 from Pendleton, Ore., to Tremonton, Utah. Because of my limited resources and knowledge of the area, other than driving on I-84, I realize it is those that live along this corridor that will know what areas would have been accessible and likely areas for Josh Powell and his brother Michael Powell to dispose of Susan's body.

Photos are on display as Glenda Ryser writes a note to Chuck and Judy Cox during a vigil for Charlie, Braden and Susan Powell in West Valley City, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Photos are on display as Glenda Ryser writes a note to Chuck and Judy Cox during a vigil for Charlie, Braden and Susan Powell in West Valley City, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

"Michael Powell salvaged his 1997 Ford Taurus on or about Dec. 15, 2009, at Pendleton, Ore. The car had broken down near Baker City, Ore. Rather then repairing the car or disposing of it in Baker City or La Grande, it was towed to Pendleton to be salvaged/destroyed. Luckily that never occurred. Police discovered the car and cadaver dogs were brought in. The dogs went straight to the car and indicated, meaning they detected the scent of human decomposition in the trunk and back seat of this vehicle. Susan's DNA was not found in the car, but dogs react to scent, not DNA.

"Joshua Powell on Tuesday night, Dec. 8, after being questioned by police, rented a Silver 2009 Ford Focus and disappeared again for 22 hours, activating his newly purchased cellphones in Tremonton, Utah. 807 miles had been put on the rental car. Cadaver dogs did not indicate on the rental car, so if Josh was moving Susan's body, he had help. It is 403 miles from Salt Lake City to a location Josh had photographed along I-84 just south of Baker City, Ore. Police searched the location near I-84. Michael's Ford Taurus allegedly broke down approximately near Baker City, Ore.

"Was this a coincidence, misdirection, bad luck? I don't know. But I believe that in some old out building, abandoned shed, culvert or other structure or ditch near a road that was accessible that Wednesday morning, we will find Susan. As her father I have to look.

"Myself and an investigator from Winquist Investigations will begin by traveling to Pendleton to meet with local law enforcement to make them aware of our concerns and to pass out fliers to gas stations and people along the way as we head south. I hope it jogs someone's memory of seeing the two cars together, or one or both of them buying fuel or shovels or anything. As people begin to spend more time outdoors, with this information we might get a break. Maybe we will finally have the answers we need and be able to put our daughter to rest beside her children. As I said before, I just have to keep looking."

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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