Search of Oregon property for Susan Powell is suspended

Search of Oregon property for Susan Powell is suspended »Play Video
Susan Powell

PORTLAND, Ore. - Authorities investigating the disappearance of Utah mother Susan Powell spent two days this week searching a rural Oregon property for her remains, Powell's father said Wednesday.

Thursday morning, authorities ended their search after finding nothing on the property in Scotts Mills in Marion County.

Mike Powell, deputy chief of West Valley City Police in Utah, said Thursday his investigators will be returning to Utah soon. He said they are exhausting all leads in the case.

Full Coverage of this story

The Marion County Sheriff's Office is assisting the West Valley Police department from Utah. Utah police have been on the property on Butte Creek Road for the past two days.

The father of Susan Powell, Chuck Cox said the search didn't turn up any sign of his daughter. He said the property east of Salem, Ore., was in a remote area but had ties to the Powell family. Cox says he was disappointed that the search didn't find anything but he will continue searching for his daughter.

"I'm disappointed," said Cox, who accompanied some of the search dogs on the hunt. "I just don't know where she is, but we'll keep looking for her."

Cox said police have not completely finished their search of the property.

Investigators did find some deer bones and some other non-human bones on the property.

Susan Powell was reported missing in December 2009 after she didn't show up for work. Her husband, Josh, had maintained his innocence and said he took the couple's young boys on a midnight camping trip in freezing temperatures the night his wife disappeared.

He was a prime suspect in her disappearance but was never charged. But unsealed documents say authorities found Susan Powell's blood on a floor next to a sofa that appeared to have been recently cleaned, with two fans set up to blow on it. Investigators also found life insurance policies on Susan Powell and determined that Josh Powell had filed paperwork to withdraw her retirement account money about 10 days after her disappearance.

He burned his house down and killed his two children in 2012 when a social worker dropped them off for a visit. Josh Powell also died in the blaze.

Anonymous tip leads to search

Cox said he received an anonymous tip from a person who called him. The person told him the property was owned by relatives of Josh Powell. The relatives were living at the property at the time Susan Powell disappeared.

The property is owned by the aunt and uncle of Josh Powell. But they no longer live at the property.

He said the person hinted the couple living there was sympathetic to Josh’s situation and might help him.

Cox reported the tip to the West Valley City Police Department. They obtained a search warrant. The search began Tuesday.

Separately, Anne Bremner, an attorney for the Cox family, said the brother of Josh Powell had said in a deposition that he had driven to Oregon and abandoned a vehicle there. The brother, Michael Powell, committed suicide earlier this year.
Bremner said she's still interested in seeing more work at the property, including the possibility of having volunteers go to the site to help search.

A spokesman for the West Valley City police in Utah, which is handling the Powell investigation, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Cox said he appreciated that investigators spent time on the Oregon search, saying it showed a dedication and determination to find his daughter.

From the air Wednesday night, the only evidence of a search on the property that could be seen was a sheriff's SUV and a trailer with a portable outhouse.They were parked beneath some trees.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video of the property shot from the air by Jet Ranger 2.