New searches being planned in Susan Cox Powell disappearance

Posted at 9:28 PM, Apr 06, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-07 00:13:10-04

WEST VALLEY CITY -- New information that has emerged over the past week in the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell could lead to a new area to search for the missing mother.

Susan's best friend Kiirsi Hellewell told FOX 13 on Friday that they were looking in areas of Idaho based on cell phone information revealed in a search warrant unsealed by a judge in Washington state last week.

"Now that we have some cell phone information from Josh and we know he was in the Tremonton area on Wednesday (Dec. 9) in the rental car," she said. "We're looking at Idaho and seeing what could have happened. Especially because it would be a halfway point between Washington and Utah."

The new plans for volunteer searches comes as a former co-worker of Steven Powell's raised suspicions about any possible role he may have had in Susan Cox Powell's disappearance. The woman's story was first disclosed in detail by Cox family attorney Anne Bremner on FOX 13 Thursday night.

"Her description of the camping trip sounded very much like the trip that Josh had described," Bremner said.

The woman contacted Bremner, claiming Steven Powell told her he went camping with his son, Josh Powell, and grandchildren in the winter. She claimed to have reported it to police a year ago.

Bremner said the woman initially claimed it was about the same time Susan went missing. On Friday, Bremner told FOX 13 it may have been in November of 2009.

"All I can tell you is I have a number of e-mails, one of which gives the information of it being that camping trip," she said. "But there's also one talking about he left in late November and was gone for one to two weeks, which would put it up to when Susan disappeared."

Susan was last reported being seen on the evening of Dec. 6, 2009. Friends said she went to bed, not feeling well. Search warrants said that earlier in the day, Josh Powell called his father on his cell phone. That was the last call made before Susan disappeared, police said.

Josh Powell told police he had gone camping in the early morning hours of Dec. 7 with his sons. One of the boys told police in an interview that their mother went with them, but he didn't know where she was.

On Dec. 8, police said in a search warrant, Josh Powell left a police interview and rented a car, putting more than 800 miles on it. The warrant stated that he also activated a cell phone in the Tremonton area on Dec. 9.

Washington state authorities said Steven Powell was at work at the state's Dept. of Corrections on Dec. 7, but then abruptly called in sick the next two days.

"I don't think he was in Utah," Hellewell said. "But as for the days that Josh had the rental car? I'd really like to know where he was those days."

Steven Powell has refused to talk to authorities about Susan's disappearance. He remains in jail facing trial next month on voyeurism and child pornography-related charges. He is accused of taking inappropriate pictures of children and women. One of those he photographed, police allege, was Susan Cox Powell.

West Valley City Police Chief Buzz Nielsen has said he would consider criminal charges against Steven Powell, should evidence reveal that he was involved in Susan's disappearance. Police declined to comment Friday on Bremner's claims about her witness.

Bremner said she planned to have a private investigator from her law firm question the woman in an effort to more definitively confirm her story and when she claims Steven Powell was camping.