Comments about ‘Investigators sifting dirt for clues at site of Susan Cox Powell investigation’

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Search called off until Saturday because of rain

Published: Friday, Sept. 16 2011 10:00 a.m. MDT

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This police investigation has to be one of the worst. Bad reports, false information. Reminds me of the boy who cried wolf.

Salt Lake City, UT

"...No actual remains had been found as of Friday morning."

Isn't that different than what these articles were saying Wed and Thur? I thought they were reporting that they had remains, but had to determine from an expert how old they were. Now there are no remains?

Good grief. Has anyone else noticed the story changing in the last couple of days, or is it just me?

It seems like they've got a hot trail either way. I hope so!

News Reader
Meridian, ID

I have to agree, first it was remains found then now it's no remains found. I would think that common sense would say that you would not say anything until you did find remains. It sounds like the news is trying to create a story before it happens.

Over the Top
Rigby, ID

Would the dogs have hits on human remains that have been burned?

Eagle Mountain, UT

"Remains" can be hair, teeth, bones, blood....this is not a botched investigation. I think West Valley is being very thorough. Justice will be done. I believe they are being so thorough so the Josh Powell AND his father cannot get away with this heinous crime.

Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

There are ways to accelerate the decomposition of a body. I seem to recall something about the husband having burns on his hands after returning from his mysterious, long-distance, rental car trip. So way to go dogs and their handlers.


Im concerned about the letter the husband sent through his sister where he said, to the effect, that they would like more information. It almost feels like hes taunting the police. What if her body was there but he has since managed to move it? Wouldnt the dogs still sense remains there?

Clearfield, UT

Unfortunately, it seems that either the news media or law enforcement ended up sensationalizing this event to become a another misleading announcement of over-reporting. The credibility of both the news outlets and law enforcement takes a hit on this one, leading the public to wonder about the ability of both to do their job. Somebody needs to take responsibility and be reprimanded because this is a huge overstep from finding remains to supsect there are remains.

oakley, idaho

Cadaver dogs are simply amazing. From what I have seen reported the investigators are uncovering the site inch by inch. This might indicate that they already believe the body has been burned or destroyed in some way. As of yesterday they said they had dug something like a foot deep? The dogs can indicate remains up to 12 feet so they might well have some digging left to go.
With seven dogs indicating there is a body, you can be sure there is a body/body parts there. The fact that it is buried in a grave shows us right off the bat that it's not a simple accident, such as a hunting accident.
There is every indication that whoever is there is a victim of foul play. Sounds to me like the police are being very careful and taking their time, as they should.

Nan BW
ELder, CO

It is possible that the guilty party removed the body after a quick burial, hence was not concerned about it being found in that vicinity. The dogs still pick up on the soil being affected by a body having been there. "Remains" could mean body fluid left in the soil or other matter that would be detected by cadaver dogs. I think the reports haven't been as specific as we would like, but this is a much watched story so any clue is a scoop to a reporter. If I were still a reporter, I'd be grabbing straws too. It is amazing to me that the investigation has proceeded as well as it has. He/She who commited a "perfect crime" may be found through obscure indications that up-to-date forensics grasp. We hope!


I understand that in extremely cold climates, in dry climates and if the chemical compsition of the burial site is just right, that bodies can be naturally preserved for hundreds and even thousands of years. Bones even longer. But how fast can a body naturally disintegrate if the conditions are not optimum? Are there artifical means, other than fire, that can accelate the process? Will they leave telltales behind? How long does a body last on average in that area of the wild? I know the news outlets are sensationalizing everything and the authorities are reluctant to reveal full details of the investigation but it almost seems as though this is an investigation by hunch and by guess. Are they are playing a game of battleship?

Saint George, UT

The investigation may be bad, but don't the reporters and editors have a duty to check and verify the information they are printing?

"We have a hit" obviously meant our dogs have "hit" a spot, we have not unearthed anything because of BLM protocol. When the Anthro gets here she'll go through the dirt to let us know if it's historical or modern. From there we'll get in the dirt and find out if their are remains or not. Because we have not gone through the dirt, we don't know if in fact there are actual physical tangible remains.

Was that so hard?

Ralph West Jordan
Taylorsville, UT

I understand the need to sift the dirt for clues, but wouldn't it be just as well to expedite the excavation of the alledged grave site and find out if there is really a body buried there, then sift the dirt later for items to assist the case, this way every flippin anthropologist in the state could be involved if they cared to assist. Seems to me no bones, no body, no need to sift!

Next question is if you know a storm is coming, why not erect a large tent over the aledged grave site and keep working?

Give the poor cox family a break and get on with it!

penny 4 thoughts

It is remarkable to me that, under the circumstances, Chuck Cox is patient, careful in his comments, and has not jumped to conclusions as some defensive, hot-headed people may react. He deserves to be commended for his restraint in a very trying circumstance that, with hope, few of us will ever encounter.

Salt Lake City, UT

I think the reporting by the newspaper has been a little sloppy. Otherwise the "dig site" would not have been refered to as the "dig sight." Sorry to be so picky, but we have always held up the newspaper to be the best example of grammar and english usag.

Salt Lake City, UT

Oops, sorry to have omitted the "e" at the end of "usage."

Farmington, UT

I don't understand why the big media exposure about the "find" or the previous search in Ely, Nevada. Maybe they want to put pressure on their "person of interest" but that is the only thing that comes to mind from these searches as they haven't uncovered anything. There's a lot of difference between searching in Ely and searching in Juab County. Hopefully they have a clue as to what they are doing. I can't help but wonder why it took so long to determine they needed to do a search in these specific remote areas.

Cedar City, UT

Can't they use ground penetrating radar?

small town, Nebraska

What ever the cadaver dogs detected I hope that they will be able to determine who they belong to. If it is her remains, I hope it can bring some closure and than they hopefully can find out who was responsible for it. God bless the Cox family and her sons.

Provo, UT

First, I offer my condolences to the Powell family. I too have lost a loved one and went through an eternal week waiting for closure. I can't imagine the torture of this being extended for nearly two years. I hope you stay strong and are comforted by those around you.

Second, this story along with the general public has gotten out of control. It seems we have a bloodthirsty society that won't hesitate to claim Josh guilty and desire for his suffering. Have we forgotten to honor our imperfect but still beautiful justice system? I would rather let a guilty man walk than an innocent man thrown to the mob. Its a rare and small price to pay for our free country.

In addition, has anyone actually done the math to know the probability of a body actually being there? I did some rough calculations using Bayes Theorem and general cadaver dog facts and found the probability of any body being there to be about 4.5%

Lastly, for those who feel unrest when a body is identified as someone other than Susan, please stop and rejoice for the closure another hurt family who can now suffer less.

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