Police search home of missing mom Susan Powell's husband

Police search home of missing mom Susan Powell's husband »Play Video
Josh Powell is seen standing outside his house as investigators served a search warrant on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011.
PUYALLUP, Wash. - A small army of detectives arrived Thursday afternoon to search the Puyallup home of Josh Powell, the husband of missing mom Susan Powell, officials said.

Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said about 20 detectives were involved in the search. Half of them are with the Pierce County sheriff and the others are with the West Valley City Police Department in Utah.

Several computers and boxes of material were removed from the home by detectives.

"We came here looking for specific things, and some of those things we've been able to find," West Valley City police Lt. Bill Merritt said Thursday night, about six hours after investigators arrived at the house. He called the evidence collected "very, very important" to the investigation.

Josh Powell, 35, was at home when police arrived and remained at the scene with his two young sons, but he was not detained, Troyer said.

Crime scene tape surrounded the home on Thursday, and a large police forensics van was parked in front of the house.

The search revolves around the teen journals and diaries of Susan Powell that are now in possession of Josh and Steve Powell, according to an ABC News source.

On Friday morning, Steve Powell said police also took his personal journals and videos he had taken of Susan.

"I didn't want them to have my journals," he told KOMO News. "There's very embarrassing things in my journals."

Investigators have declined to discuss what pieces of evidence they gathered.

"What we have here today will help us draw closer to a conclusion," Merritt said. "Whether it's the conclusion that everybody wants and hopes for, we don't know. It may be a conclusion that nobody wants to admit could happen."

When contacted by KOMO News Thursday afternoon, the missing woman's father, Chuck Cox did not know detectives were searching Josh Powell's home.

"Twenty? Wow, OK," he said, sighing heavily. "They've confirmed enough to execute a search warrant. They're just following another lead, as far as I know. But the fact that they have that large of a team doing that extensive of a search - or what I hope is an extensive search - is very encouraging."

Cox said regardless of what Josh and Steve Powell have said, detectives have already proven their claims to be wrong.

"What the police have released is that they're sure that there's nothing to the theory that Susan went off on her own. And they basically have gone on record about that issue. That helps a lot. And they've clearly said that Josh is still a person of interest, because that's clearly contrary to what Josh is saying."

The search of Josh Powell's home comes comes 20 months after her disappearance on Dec. 6, 2009, from her home in West Valley City, Utah.

She was reported missing the next day after she failed to show up for her stockbroker job. She had been seen by friends at church and at dinner the day before.

Josh Powell said he last saw his 28-year-old wife before he left with their two boys, ages 2 and 4, to go on a midnight camping trip in freezing temperatures on the Pony Express Trail, about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City.

 Susan Powell

Police have said that Josh Powell a person of interest in the case, although he's never been arrested or charged.

Both Susan and Josh Powell are natives of Puyallup, and Josh moved back there with his young sons after Susan disappeared. Susan's father-in-law and father also live in Puyallup.

Authorities also recently searched a network of abandoned mine shafts near Ely, Nev., about 235 miles southwest of West Valley City, looking for evidence in the case. It is not known what they found.

The search of Josh Powell's home comes a day after his father, Steve Powell, said in an ABC News interview that that he interacted "sexually" with Susan before her mysterious 2009 disappearance. He said Susan flirted with him and that he had feelings for her.

"Susan was very sexual with me. She was very flirtatious. I mean, I'm her father-in-law, and she would do a lot of things that, um, she did it. ... We interacted in a lot of sexual ways because Susan enjoys doing that."

Asked if he was in love with Susan, Steve Powell said, "That's pretty likely, yeah, I think so, and there's no question in my mind that the feelings were mutual."

Josh Powell also was interviewed, and said Susan was mentally unstable before she vanished.

He said he believes her mental problems began as a child, and that her diaries bolster that belief.

Also in the interview, Josh Powell reiterated his belief that Susan probably ran off with another man.

He said he believes that because "she was a very sexual person" - although he admits she never cheated on him before her disappearance, to his knowledge.

Cox, after watching the new interviews, said there was no truth to the allegation that she ran off with another man.

"That's just ridiculous," he said in an interview with ABC News. "The police have already investigated the possibility that she could have left on her own and have determined that did not happen."

Cox also denies that his daughter had feelings for her father-in-law.


The Associated Press contributed to this report