December 13th, 2009
08:41 AM ET

Dad of missing Utah woman: Come home, we love you


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/11/art.vert.crime.powell.jpg caption="Susan Powell, 28, has been missing for more than one week." width=292 height=320]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

The father of a missing Utah woman does not want to speculate on what may have happened to his daughter. He just has a message for her. “We love you,” Charles Cox said, “and we are going to keep searching until we find you.”

Susan Powell, 28, disappeared from her suburban Salt Lake City home under what many consider to be mysterious circumstances exactly one week ago. Her husband, Joshua Powell, said he last saw his wife shortly after midnight Sunday as he was preparing to take the couple’s four and one-year-old sons on a camping trip in a freezing remote area of the state, police and family members said.

His wife was not in the house when he returned with the children on Tuesday, investigators said Mr. Powell told them.

The West Valley City Police Department continue to classify the investigation as a missing persons case. They have also labeled it suspicious.

Police have already questioned Mr. Powell but intend on talking to him again, West Valley Police Captain Tom McLachlan told CNN. “We hope that it will occur sometime soon,” he said. “We had discussed that with him and he stated he would come in for another interview.”

McLachlan said police have been unable to confirm Mr. Powell’s account of exactly where he took the children camping. “We went to the area he send he went to and checked for fire tracks, use of a fire pit, or anything else,” he said. “Everything is snow covered. We were not able to verify…it’s a little difficult if you can’t physically verify a location that he says he may have gone to.” Mr. Powell could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Cox, who flew to Utah from his home in Washington State Friday night, told CNN he has only briefly spoken to his son-in-law.

“He has basically maintained that he doesn’t know where she is, so I really don’t know what beyond that to ask him,” Cox said.

In interviews with CNN, close friends and family members described Powell as a devout Mormon who attended church services regularly. They also said she was friendly and outgoing. Above all, they called her a caring and loving mother who lives for her children.

“If you know her, you know she is responsible almost to a fault, said friend and family spokesperson Shelby Gifford. “Knowing and loving her like we do we can see she would never be away from her kids.

“Susan is an exceptional mother. The reason she is separated from her boys right now is because she is not in control of the situation. I can't even tell you how out of character or abnormal that is.”

Gifford’s husband, Michael, echoed the sentiment:

“She absolutely adores her children,” he told CNN. “They are the center of her universe. She would do anything for them. She is very nurturing and loving and has long-range goals for them. She is one of her parents that want the best for her children.

“Something like this where she is not contacting them to me shows that she is not able to because of whatever circumstances have caused her to go missing, she wouldn't leave without them.”

Kayla Reed, a friend, said Powell made her feel welcome when she and her husband moved into the neighborhood. “She was the first person who came up and introduced herself,” Reed said. “She’s always a happy cheerful person.”

Reed said about 150 people in the community began fasting today for 24-hours. “Hopefully, it will help us find her or bring peace,” she said. “We just need to have the comfort of our father in heaven.”

“You can imagine that it’s just an agonizing time for the family,” said Shelby Gifford. “It’s such a hard thing not to know where she is. And if she’s hurt and if she’s sick, if she’s anywhere in Utah, there are so many possibilities.”

Including one that some say they must consider. “If she’s not alive, just get her found,” Reed said. “We don’t want to go there, but we want her home. We want her to know that she is desperately loved.”

For more crime coverage go to cnn.com/crime.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Christie

    Has there been any more leads in this current case?

    December 14, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  2. Tim Gibson

    The whole idea of taking small children out "camping" in the middle of the night, in freezing temps is a red flag that all is not right with the story line, and in the least says, BAD parenting skills.

    December 14, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  3. MIKE

    This is just me, but who in the world would take a 1 yr old out camping in freezing temps? Let alone 4 of them! Some I'm a camper/hiker/parent myself but that's little much. Something sound fishy to me....

    December 14, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  4. linda

    Who would take such little boys to an isolated freezing place especially without their mom to help with them? How do you even put up a tent alone with babies?

    December 13, 2009 at 11:29 pm |

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