News / Utah / 

Josh Powell questions detectives' motives in Ely search

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY — The nearly information-less press conferences held by West Valley police about their Nevada search for Susan Powell are prompting a lot of questions of their true intentions — including ones from Josh Powell. But one retired FBI agent has a theory on what police may have really been searching for.

"It just doesn't seem like they said anything. That's honestly what went through my mind," Josh Powell said in an interview with KSL Newsradio Friday evening.


"I actually thought that they were going to be looking in hotels, apartments, you know things like that," he continued. "That's what I was hoping they'd be looking for — for people; frankly, for Susan."

But according to retired FBI special agent Lou Bertram, this may be a strategic play by West Valley City police aimed at Josh Powell — one that's been tough on friends and family.

"When you go proactive, you may step on some toes," Bertram said.

"Going proactive," he explained, is an investigation technique. Bertram thinks that's what police are likely up to. Investigators put out suggestions, shake things up and wait to see what happens.

"You want to set up a scenario for this individual to make a mistake," he explained.

It worked in the case of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. Investigators knew he was very intelligent, but they released information to the media that he was dumb and careless in an attempt to bait him. Kaczynski then wrote his infamous manifesto in response, which led to his capture.

I can't say that I hope to have them find anything, really, to be honest. I mean, I can't imagine what of value, aside from Susan herself, they could possibly find.

–Josh Powell

In this case, the technique prompted at least one thing: an interview from Josh Powell, the sole person of interest, for the first time in years.

The implementation was far from perfect, according to Bertram, but he says it may not be over. "They could still have some more tricks, because I don't know what suggestions … there could be 15, 20. Maybe they executed one or two today," he said.

Officers plan to search again on Saturday. As for Josh Powell, he's not sure that it will do any good. "I can't say that I hope to have them find anything, really, to be honest. I mean, I can't imagine what of value, aside from Susan herself, they could possibly find."

Josh Powell says he knows there are people that believe he knows more than he's telling. He says there's no more information he can provide in the case.

"I've had extensive interviews with, not just the West Valley police, but also several other law enforcement agencies. And everything I could tell them, I've told them," Josh Powell said. "They have every piece of information that I could possibly provide, and they have to do with it whatever they do with it."


Written with contributions from Sarah Dallof and Paul Nelson.**

Sarah Dallof
    Paul Nelson


      Catch up on the top news and features from, sent weekly.
      By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

      KSL Weather Forecast