December 15th, 2009
11:25 AM ET

Husband of missing Utah woman skips police questioning


[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 husband of a missing Utah woman did not appear for his scheduled interview with police on Monday, authorities said today. Joshua Powell was supposed to meet for a second time with investigators who are trying to determine what happened to his wife, Susan Powell.

"He failed to show up," Capt. Tom McLachlan of the West Valley City Polce told CNN. "We had heard that he had retained an attorney. We contacted the attorney and he said he had advised Joshua not to submit to questioning."

"Hopefully we can rescheule an additional interview. We'll wait to see what occurs on that request."

Mr. Powell said he last saw his wife shortly after midnight on December 6 as he was taking the couple's 4 and 1-year-old sons on a camping trip, according to police. Authorities also said Mr. Powell told them that Mrs. Powell was not at home when he returned with the children on Tuesday.

McLachlan said he was "extremely" disappointed with Mr. Powell's decision to hire a lawyer. "All of our communications with Joshua Powell had been with the intent of getting the information necessary to, as his stated purpose was, to find Susan," he told CNN. "Now that delays the process."

"I don't think that really serves the purpose of solving this missing persons case."

Several media outlets have reported that Mr. Powell has retained Scott Williams, a Salt Lake City attorney. Messages to his law office requesting comment were not returned to CNN.

Kayla Reed, a close friend of Mrs. Powell, told CNN she wasn't surprised he hired an attorney. "We just want to find Susan...she's still out there," she said.

"It's hard to move on to any stage past this without her here, without her body or her person here," she added.

"We don't know what to do until we get to the next part... we're praying that she is alive, but it's been over a week, it's hard to believe that she can be there alive."

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

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. NotSoSmart

    If I were the maternal grandparents of these children, I would be hiring a lawyer and filing for custody of the kids before they disappear!

    December 16, 2009 at 12:09 am |
  2. Barbara

    Wow....sounds like another Drew Peterson.

    December 15, 2009 at 9:49 pm |
  3. Duane A. Webb

    He's declining the second interrogation because he's smart! They've already questioned him once to gather the information that they'll use to support an accusation against him. That information is used to strategically design the second interrogation; where they'll gather more detailed information to start working on a TYPICAL "The Husband Did It" FRAME!!!

    December 15, 2009 at 9:14 pm |
  4. janinpenna

    If I had a family member missing I would meet with the police anytime they asked me. Detectives are probably meeting with Sarah's friends and family so that should give them some help. My heart breaks for her two little toddlers. They must be so sad and confused.

    December 15, 2009 at 9:09 pm |
  5. JoJo

    This guy is innocent. so he went camping is that a crime?

    December 15, 2009 at 9:06 pm |
  6. Courtney

    i have a 5 and 3 year old and my husband is a GREAT father, but NEVER would I let him leave with my young children at midnight when it is cold out. This sounds like a husband out to get his wife, it's sad.

    December 15, 2009 at 9:04 pm |
  7. Phred

    If my wife "disappeared".....I would be LOOKING FOR HER!

    December 15, 2009 at 9:00 pm |
  8. EmmKay

    I have no bias toward someone hiring a lawyer. But what lawyer tells an innocent client not to meet police when a person's life might be at stake? That makes as much sense as taking babies camping on a freezing winter night.

    December 15, 2009 at 8:49 pm |
  9. Jeanette

    I feel so sorry for those poor kids, Mother dead and the father is guilty as sin and will be prosecuted for her murder. That is the worse story ever made up by a criminal. If he wasn't home at the time then he hired it done. GUILTY, the end period.

    December 15, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  10. Ed

    yes, it does make him look guilty but some of us know that police interrogation means getting harassed because they try to spin everything you say. But if he has proof that he wasn't around then what do they need to question him about that they didn't ask the first time?

    December 15, 2009 at 8:26 pm |
  11. MS

    I can understand him hiring a lawyer, considering how many innocent people have been convicted and some even executed, because our justice system is so horrible. However, totally skipping the interview just delays everything. If he's so interested in finding his missing wife, why is he suddenly not cooperating anymore? This only makes him look more and more guilty, and less and less innocent.

    December 15, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  12. Blackdog

    Talking to the police without an attorney present is absolutely the WRONG thing to do. Regardless of what they say, regardless of what the public believes - YOU are not in that situation, so it's easy to judge. How many times have the police laid the blame on the immediate family because they are too lazy to INVESTIGATE? Jon Benet Ramsey comes to mind, no?

    December 15, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  13. Jimmie 54

    The person most likely to kill a woman is her husband or significant other. Seldom is it anyone else. The moment I heard he went on a camping trip at 1230 am, I thought his story was fishy.

    December 15, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  14. TJ

    oh come on. he's so guilty. his wife is missing and he refuses to talk to police.

    December 15, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  15. CAROL Toronto, Ontario

    I'm convinced more so now than ever this man is too stupid to know him not talking to police is making him appear as the one and only suspect.

    December 15, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  16. Julie

    He's guilty and its so obvious. I live in Utah and we had a huge snow storm that Sunday night Susan Powell disappeared. Not even the most experienced winter campers would have been out in that storm. There was a lot of snow and the temperatures dropped below freezing.

    December 15, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  17. SFCA

    Not saying it's not suspicious, but the guy is smart - and he doesn't HAVE to talk to police. If he expects charges will be filed against him, his best defense hinges on his silence.

    December 15, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  18. Susan

    Exercising his Fifth Amendment rights makes him look guilty??? If law enforcement ever wants to interview you or "get your help" with a probable criminal investigation and you are or may be a "person of interest," call an attorney. The right to remain silent is woefully underused by suspects, accused, and ... no suprise here... the convicted.

    December 15, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  19. laura

    Everyone has a right to a lawyer. But having lived in Utah, you'd be out of your mind going camping in the winter. No way with babies.

    December 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  20. Kathy

    It does not take a rocket scientist to see that something is wrong with this story. Who in the world would take children as young as this on a camping trip, in freezing weather. If he did do that, then something is wrong with his brain. I just hope police finds out something pretty soon. I pray this precious mother will be found alive and ok.

    December 15, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  21. Lisa Pearl

    Guilty. Noone in their right mind takes to toddlers out on a camping trip at midnight in bad weather the night before he has to be at work. He may not have intentionaly killed her but kill her he did.

    December 15, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  22. Jennifer

    Scott Peterson all over again!

    December 15, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  23. R.I.P.

    I don't believe for a moment that she is still alive. Hubby knows what happened. The babies were probably in bed sleeping when he decided to get himself and them out of the house. I do not believe him. No way. Too many cases like this. Lisa Stebic still missing and cop hubby got house, kids everything. Stacy Peterson still missing, Drew got everything, no body no charges. This case same, same, same. They need to drag him in and waterboard him until he comes clean because he surely is lying.

    December 15, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  24. Danny

    I feel that this case is going to end badly for both parties. Mrs. Powell doesn't sound like the type who would approve of her husband taking two small children out of a comfortable, warm and safe environment out into the cold snowey winter, especially at midnight. Who's kidding who here? Come on Mr. Powell, time to come clean and tell the truth about whaere your wife is.

    December 15, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  25. Annie Kate

    I'd get a lawyer too if it were me just to ensure that the focus stays on finding my spouse and not settling on myself as the most convenient culprit. Police do make mistakes just like the rest of us so I don't fault him for getting a lawyer. While "lawyering up" may make him look guilty lets not rush to judgment on him – innocent until proven guilty – they don't even know what happened yet so if he is guilty what is he guilty of??

    December 15, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  26. Stef

    Who takes their kids camping in the middle of the night? Something doesn't add up. I am not saying he is guilty but he may know more than he is letting on. By him hiring a lawyer it ups the fact that it seems he is hiding something.
    Something doesn't pan out with this story!

    December 15, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  27. MissDiaz

    He did it

    December 15, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  28. V Wolsk, NYC

    Who is protecting those 2 small children? They may be at risk if he is indeed guilty.

    December 15, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  29. Melissa

    Wow, I hear guilt.

    December 15, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  30. Chirp

    he does not want to speak to them cause if police cant find her, they will focus on him as a killer.

    Word of advice, never speak to police.

    December 15, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  31. Sarah

    I agree with Mary- plenty of innocent people are falsely accused everyday for a crime they did not commit, and subsequently are placed in prison. I'm not saying that THIS guy is innocent, but if he is, hiring an attorney is smart on his part. If I were ever to be questioned by police about a crime- and of course I would be innocent- I would DEFINITELY request an attorney be at my side, I dont care how that make me look.

    December 15, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  32. The Humungous

    For those that think innocent people don't need lawyers, think again. How many convicted murderers are in prison who were let go decades later because of DNA evidence. How many convicted people are in jail because of faulty eyewitness testimony? Its when you are innocent and charged that you MOST want a lawyer. I am not saying this guy is innocent, but god forbid you are ever falsely charged with something--you will thank your lucky stars that we have an "innocent until proven guilty" system-supposedly. Would you have advised Amanda Knox not to hire a lawyer? I bet she wishes she did before she 'confessed" after hours of interrogation without one.

    December 15, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  33. ASH

    I understand that the 'law' can make it difficult for the spouse of a missing person if you are innocent of wrongdoing. However, if my spouse or any family member/friend vanished I would do anything and everything in my power to help find them. It's such a simple choice. Bottom line, do you want you loved one to be found or not?

    December 15, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  34. KC in OK

    My question is why he would take his babies camping at midnight on the onset of a huge snow storm hitting Utah on that Sunday, Monday and Tuesday?

    December 15, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  35. Linda M

    Its obvious this man killed his wife, either because he has a mistress or he has a big insurance policy. Who in their right mind would take two young children on a camping trip at midnight?? And from what I heard on the news, it was cold outside. Come on Mr. Powell........couldn't you come up with a better story than that??

    December 15, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  36. Michelle

    You guys on here are too nice...Innocent until proven guilty or not, We are not idiots, I'm not going to sit here and pretend otherwise ....he did it, he did it, HE DID IT!!

    December 15, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  37. Susan Lewis NYC

    I read true crime all the time. He did it. Question is, if and when they find the body, and whther or not their is forensic evidence anywhere. This is an Ann Rule book in the making.

    December 15, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  38. Karen in Alaska

    Has anybody found out what the fans were drying out? What was that wet spot on the floor all about? Is it relative?

    December 15, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  39. Kim

    If this man was innocent he would be working with the police to find his wife. He isn't helping them look because he already knows where she is.

    December 15, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  40. George

    I agree it makes him "look" guilty. But, anyone that talks with the police without an attorney is a fool, guilty or not guilty. The police will tell you they want to help, but what they really want to do is close the case in a manner that gives the DA the sufficient evidence to convict. I'm not trying to make the police out to be the bad guys. They are not. They are just doing their job. The job we want them to do. But when their focus turns to you, you had better make sure that don't see you as a suspect when you are talking to them. Since there is no way to know that, you should always have an attorney that is protecting your rights with you. We should not cast suspicion on someone for hiring an attorney. We do, but we shouldn't.

    December 15, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  41. Mary (in W.C. Ohio)

    We see errors all the time made by police and I can understand anyone hiring a lawyer. It is our right, as human beings, to do so. There are reasons why lawyers don't want ppl talking to police. But, the facts, if we are getting the real story, of this case don't add up. Who goes camping with a 1 and 4 yo in winter? Maybe in warm climates sure but not where they live. Missing info would help, such as, is this something he normally does, have him and the children went camping alone before this? Does his wife have any history of disappearing before? Does she have a boyfriend?

    There are just to many questions, but based on what we do have it does not sound like he may be innocent, but it's best to just wait and see what else happens.

    December 15, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  42. Jennifer

    An innocent person would not think about hiring an attorney. An innocent person would be worried and willing to do anything to find his missing wife.

    December 15, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  43. Paul Tomko

    His story and actions sure do leave more questions than answers.

    December 15, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  44. Tim Gibson

    It creates an image of wrong doing by hiring an attorney instead of being a willing part in finding his wife. What is this man so afraid of in speaking to police about the case?

    Yet, on the other hand, we all know to well, the errors made through our justice system. With that said, I tend to lean toward disbelief of the mans story.

    December 15, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  45. Kellie

    His story definitely doesn't add up. There's no way this woman would have allowed him to take their 2 babies "camping" in the middle of the night during winter no less. His lawyer should advise him to do the right thing and lead police to his missing wife.

    December 15, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  46. Cindy

    From the first time that I saw this story I thought that something was definitely up. It just doesn't seem right that Joshua Powell would have taken a 4 and 1 yr old alone camping and his wife wouldn't have went. Now him hiring a lawyer and not talking to police really makes him look guilty even if he did nothing wrong.


    December 15, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  47. christa

    If he is so innocent, why does'nt he help the police to find his wife, why does'nt he talk to them. It makes him look so guilty.

    December 15, 2009 at 11:45 am |