WEST VALLEY CITY (ABC4 News) – Years after the official search for the remains of Susan Powell was called off, a group of experts and volunteers plan to scour Utah’s West Desert once again nearly a decade after her disappearance.
The Utah Cold Case Coalition said it received a tip last month that many of the mine shafts in Utah’s West Desert were either unexplored or not explored thoroughly enough during previous searches for Powell’s remains. Her husband Josh Powell, remained a person of interest in her disappearance before he killed himself and their two children in 2012.
According to Jason Jensen, private investigator and co-founder of Utah Cold Case Coalition, Josh Powell had said the mine shafts is where he would go to hide a body. Witnesses reportedly spotted Powell and her father-in-law near the mine shafts at Topaz Mountain in Juab County shortly after her disappearance.
“‘Mommy’s with the crystals.'” That’s what Susan Powell’s young sons said shortly after she vanished, according to Jensen. West Valley City Police also received tips that she was buried “among some crystals.”
“It all points to the West Desert,” said Jensen. “Just because they haven’t found her there yet, doesn’t mean they can’t find her.”
Law enforcement suspended the official search for Susan Powell in 2012.
Since then, all the key players in this cold case have passed on, including Steven Powell, Susan’s father-in-law – who many believe played a part in the disposal of her remains. Steven Powell died in July 2018 – a year after being released from prison for child pornography possession and voyeurism convictions.
Now, the renewed effort to find Susan Powell’s remains comes as tipsters call into the Utah Cold Case Coalition. They all have theories – but the coalition explores every tip it receives – within reason.
“We get all kinds of crazy stories,” said Jensen.
The search in and around mines in the West Desert is scheduled for April 6 – the anniversary of the beginning of Josh and Susan Powell’s rocky marriage. Jensen said it will take a few months to gather the tools necessary for the endeavor.
“Our plan is to take core samples and bring them up for cadaver dogs to sniff to see if there were bodily fluids that were mixed with the soil,” said Jensen. “We expect any remains are gonna be under at least a few feet of debris.”
Jensen said mining experts will be heavily involved to make the effort safer.
“What we are doing is we are applying some of the expert techniques for mine recovery,” he said, adding previous searches did not go as deep into the mine shafts as this one will venture.
ABC4 News reached out to West Valley City Police, who said the case is still open.
“We would be glad to check the locations of any of the mines they plan to search against our list of already searched mines,” said police spokesperson Roxeanne Vainuku. “If the mines they intend to search have not been searched and there is a credible reason to search them, we would likely do so. But the credible reason to do so is the key.”
To find out more about the upcoming search efforts, click here.