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Cox family search for Susan Powell reaches Utah


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TREMONTON, Box Elder County — The search for missing West Valley mother Susan Cox Powell is back on inside the state of Utah. Susan's father, Chuck Cox, was in Tremonton Wednesday, continuing his personal search to find his daughter's body.

Cox's hope of finding his daughter was renewed after the West Valley City Police Department disclosed all of its investigation materials last week. The information was released as department officials called an end to their active search for Susan, saying they had run out of leads.

The investigation materials released by the department revealed that police had followed up on several leads in northern Utah and had other evidence that points in the direction of a 200-mile span of I-84 between Pendleton, Ore., and Tremonton, Utah.

Spurred on by the new information, Cox and his daughter Denise Cox Olsen began their own search of the area Monday. By Wednesday evening, it led them to a small florist shop in Tremonton.

"We decided we needed to come down and put out these flyers and get some attention to these people who live along that (I-84) corridor," Cox said. "Hopefully we get some more tips, some new tips; and we did, actually, as a result of the KSL coverage of that."

The Tremonton tip came from evidence that Josh had been through the area along I-84 in the days following Susan's disappearance. His brother Michael had also been in the region, and then salvaged the car he was driving, police documents show.

That is what made Teresa Sandall come forward. Her family owns land northwest of Tremonton, which she said is filled with culverts and small sheds and has interstate access.

"If I were in their situation, I would want someone to do the same for me," she said. "To me it would be, if I was criminal-minded, (this property) was a good place to hide someone."

Sandall's property spans miles of this area in Box Elder County — a place Cox believes Josh drove in December 2009 with the intention of disposing of Susan's body.

"That kind of information is going to be what helps us to focus on the right areas," Cox said. "And somewhere along the line I think we're going to find my daughter."

So, they are passing out flyers, even talking to local climate experts about where snowpack was during that week in December and which roads were open, because this area wasn't a place of emphasis early during the investigation.

Of course, West Valley police say the evidence they collected never led investigators to connect those dots into a complete picture of what happened to Susan. Only time will tell if her father's instincts are correct.

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Andrew Wittenberg

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