SALT LAKE CITY – The father-in-law of a Utah mother missing for nearly two years said Friday that authorities seized computers and journals during an extensive hours-long search of his Washington state home.
“They went through every room in the house, the garage, even the crawl space,” Steve Powell told the Associated Press.
The renewed effort over the past week in the search for Susan Cox Powell came as the case spiraled into an emotional saga pitting one side of her family against the other. The Powell family has throughout the investigation claimed they believe Susan Powell ran off with another man. Her family, however, has just been praying she’s still alive, and has pleaded with her husband, Josh, to cooperate with authorities, who say he has been evasive.
Josh Powell is the only person of interest in his wife’s disappearance, but he has not been charged or detained.
His father, Steve Powell, claimed in a nationally televised interview Thursday that he had a flirtatious relationship with his daughter-in-law, that they were in love – something her parents adamantly denied, saying Steve Powell initiated unwanted sexual advances toward her.
On Thursday, authorities from Utah converged on the Powells’ home in Puyallup, Wash., searching for journals from everyone, including Susan Powell, Steve Powell and Josh Powell, Steve Powell said.
He said they seized every computer in the home.
Powell said authorities also seized thumb drives, CDs and paper journals from the home.
Police have declined to comment on what they were seeking or what they found.
“We came here looking for specific things, and some of those things we’ve been able to find,” West Valley City, Utah, police Lt. Bill Merritt said Thursday night. He called the evidence collected “very, very important” to the investigation.
The Powell family has been portraying Susan as promiscuous and emotionally unstable and had been offering as proof several diary pages from the missing woman’s teenage years. Her family says the entries were written by a young girl and have no bearing on the 28-year-old’s disappearance. A Washington court on Friday granted a temporary restraining order sought by her family prohibiting the Powells from disseminating the journal entries.
It’s the latest in a flurry of action in the case that had appeared to stall until recently. On Tuesday, a court commissioner in Washington ordered Susan Powell’s father, Chuck Cox, and Josh Powell to keep 500 feet apart. That move came just days after authorities wrapped up a search for evidence in a network of abandoned mines outside Ely, Nev. They found nothing new.
Police say Josh Powell has refused to answer questions about a supposed midnight camping trip he said he took with the couple’s sons – then ages 4 and 2 – in the mountains west of Salt Lake City the night before Susan Powell was reported missing. She was last seen by her husband Dec. 6, 2009, in her West Valley City home outside Salt Lake City. She was reported missing the next day when she didn’t show up for work.