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Susan Powell's disappearance: New details but case is closed

Authorities in Utah have officially closed the active investigation into the bizarre 2009 disappearance of Susan Powell, citing a lack of leads in the case of a mother of two whose now-dead husband was a suspect in a case that garnered national attention.

In a news conference Monday, police in West Valley City offered new details on the case, while officials said there was not enough promising information to keep their books open, Deputy Chief Mike Powell told the Los Angeles Times.

Among the new details, police said they believed Susan Powell's brother-in-law, Michael C. Powell, was “heavily involved” in getting rid of her body, the Associated Press reported.

Police said they based their suspicion in part on a car Michael Powell left at an Oregon junkyard only weeks after Susan Powell disappeared, the Associated Press said. The junkyard is about 200 miles from a wooded area near Salem, Ore., where investigators spent two days last week searching for Susan Powell's body but found no additional clues.

Susan Powell, 28, was last seen Dec. 6, 2009, when she disappeared from her Utah home, prompting a national search that proved fruitless despite numerous tips from a distraught public.

Her husband, Josh, the only named person of interest in the case, told police that he and his two young sons had gone camping on the cold December night and returned to an empty house.

Josh Powell moved from Utah to Washington state about a month after his wife disappeared. Josh, who was never charged in the case, and his father, Steven, said they believed that Susan might have run off with another man, though no one was able to confirm the story.

Josh Powell later killed himself and the couple's two young sons -- 7-year-old Charlie and 5-year-old Braden -- in an explosive arson fire at his rental home in Graham, Wash., south of Tacoma.

Steven Powell, 62, was arrested and charged with taking photos of two young girls while they were in a bathroom. He was convicted of voyeurism charges in May and has invoked his constitutional right not to discuss Susan Powell’s disappearance with authorities.

In 2011, authorities searched the house that Steven and Josh Powell shared and found the images on a computer. Some of the shots, including the bathing girls who lived next door, were used as evidence in the voyeurism case against Steven Powell.

Then there were the pictures of Susan Powell, with whom Steven appeared to be fascinated. None of the pictures show her naked, though there were images of her crotch and backside.

In the journals that authorities also made public, Powell describes himself as a "voyeur" and Susan as an "exhibitionist." He talks about using a mirror to spy on her under the bathroom door, and he writes about taking sexual pleasure in looking at images of Susan Powell that he kept on his computer.

In one entry, dated a few months before Susan Powell disappeared, Steven Powell wrote that he had just awakened "from a most pleasant dream about Susan."

Police said they would reopen the case if they got new information.

DMU Timestamp: March 07, 2019 02:52

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