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WEST VALLEY CITY -- It is the inconsistencies in Josh Powell's story that made him the primary person of interest in the disappearance of his wife. Two years after the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell, why hadn't police arrested Josh?
Neighbor Stephanie Olson echoed at the time of the disappearance what many others have since recounted: that Josh Powell was "bizarre," "emotionally abusive" and that Susan Powell had been fairly vocal about her plans to leave the marriage if things didn't improve.
Emotions were obviously high as people tried to deal with what happened Sunday. Even Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Monday that the murders of Braden and Charlie Powell hit him like a kick in the stomach. But Gill also said the decision to charge Powell in the disappearance of his wife had to be based on evidence and not on emotion.
The seemingly slow pace of the investigation into the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell has haunted many people including West Valley Police Chief Thayle "Buzz" Nielsen.
"I was pretty optimistic about the direction it was going, and so I had a time line," He said. That time line called for Josh Powell's arrest sometime in the next few months, but it depended on something police have apparently lacked for the past two years -- solid evidence that Josh was responsible for his wife's disappearance.
"We want to make sure that when we charge, we have all the evidence, that we've done a thorough investigation, the quantity and quality of the evidence is such that we feel very comfortable for a reasonable likeliness of a successful trial," he said.
Gill's office would have been responsible for screening any charges against Josh. He said prosecutors had regular meetings with police to discuss the case.
"We've had ongoing conversations about what we had, what we needed to do and that was a very active and dynamic investigation all the way through," Gill said.
Defense attorney Susanne Gustin isn't involved in the Powell case, but said police and prosecutors faced many hurdles.
"You don't have a body. You don't have any physical evidence, it doesn't seem like," Gustin said. "So it's a difficult case, and so I think they're being very careful, actually."
But any additional evidence that might have linked Powell to his wife's disappearance was likely destroyed in Sunday's explosion and fire. Moreover, with the prime person of interest dead, police may never be able to uncover what happened to Susan Cox Powell Gustin said.
"I think they were hoping that at some point he would confess or at some point he would make a mistake…then they would have enough evidence to finally arrest him and go forward." Email: [email@example.com](<mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org>)