Missing: Susan Powell - She is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.
Contrary to some reports published earlier on December 15th, 2009, Josh Powell is now cooperating with police to solve the disappearance of his wife Susan Powell, who was last seen on December 6th. Josh Powell's Monday meeting with West Valley City police was cancelled in order to allow Powell's attorney, Scott Williams, sufficient time to get information so he could advise and consult. Media stories from the Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News, KSTU Channel 13, and KSL Channel 5.
On Tuesday December 15th, Powell met with police where he provided them DNA samples and answered what were characterized as "basic" questions. Police have already obtained samples from others involved in the case. West Valley City Police Capt. Tom McLachlan still wants Powell to come in for a more extensive interview, but no time frame has yet been set. Police emphasize that although Josh Powell is NOT a suspect at this point, he is one of several persons of interest, according to KTVX Channel 4.
The Tribune provides some detailed background on the Powells. The basics: Josh and Susan Powell are natives of Puyallup, Washington, and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They met through a church activity at the College Heights YSA Ward in Tacoma, and were married in April 2001. They moved to Utah about five years ago in search of a fresh start and to be closer to Josh Powell's mother and two sisters. The couple found a home in West Valley City and joined the Hunter 36th Ward, where they are active members.
Initially, Josh Powell was a realtor for Homenet Real Estate while Susan chose to be a homemaker, caring for their sons, now aged 2 and 4. Since that time, Josh started a home-based business called Polished Marketing that creates websites and logos for business, and also works as a computer programmer for a trucking and warehousing company. Susan became a stockbroker with Wells Fargo Financial.
Scuttlebutt filtering out indicates the Powells' marriage was a bit contentious at times. Josh has been said by some to be excessively controlling. Conflict within the marriage increased after Josh filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2007 with nearly $188,000 in unsecured debt, including a nearly $60,000 debt for student loans and $90,000 owed to a collection agency. Some of Susan Powell's friends began pressuring her to leave her husband at that point, but she was determined to stick it out.
As for Josh Powell's state of mind, the Deseret News reports that Kiirsi Hellewell, Susan Powell's best friend, has been in contact with Josh Powell on a daily basis but hasn't asked him specific questions about Susan in an effort not to interfere with the investigation or to lose his trust as a friend. "He doesn't do a lot of talking. He mostly looks upset and confused and is crying most of the time," Hellewell said. She said she sat next to Josh Powell at church on Sunday and that he cried through most of the service.
No one who knows the couple and who has talked to the media believes the marital problems were serious enough to cause Josh Powell to suddenly snap and top his wife, though. Charles Cox, Susan Powell's father, said the couple had worked through their problems and were doing better. On Tuesday, Shelby Gifford, who is serving at a spokesperson for the Cox family, relayed a message from the family, thanking the community for its support. They say they have not given up hope in finding the missing mother. "We each have a finite amount of energy and capacity. We are using 100% of ours to find Susan...We come to this page frequently for comfort and to feel surrounded by Susan's friends and family. It's a source of strength for us, and keeps us focused on our goal -- finding Susan."
But while those who know Josh Powell are extending him the benefit of the doubt, the same cannot be said for the general public. A review of the comments posted to the DN, the Tribune, and KSL show the public is increasingly viewing him as the white O.J. Simpson. Many are comparing this to the Mark Hacking case; ironically, Mark Hacking's wife also worked for Wells Fargo. It's because of all the anomalies in the case so far, as documented in my previous post:
-- Susan Powell suddenly falls ill and lies down during the early evening of December 6th.
-- Josh Powell suddenly takes the two kids camping at Simpson Springs at midnight, in teen temperatures and with a storm bearing down on the area.
-- Susan Powell goes missing, but her purse and cell phone are left behind.
-- Fans left on and directed towards "wet spots" on the carpet.
-- Josh Powell's apparent "reluctance" to cooperate with police initially.
One can easily understand why people are suspicious of Josh Powell. What an additional cross for him to bear - if he is innocent.