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Do these clues help explain what happened to Utah mom Susan Powell?


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Blood in Powell home: During a second search of the Powell’s West Valley City home on Dec. 8, 2009, police found "blood evidence" on a tile floor next to carpet and close to the newly cleaned sofa. Police have not said how much blood was found. However, tests later showed it was Susan Powell’s blood.

At a glance

Editor’s note: The following is part of a collection of information available at The Salt Lake Tribune’s newly created “Where is Susan?” page: www.sltrib.com/findsusan.

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Susan Powell was 28 years old when she disappeared from her home at 6254 W. Sarah Circle, West Valley City, Utah, 84128. She is described as 5 feet 4 inches tall, 130 lbs., with long, brown hair and blue eyes. If you have information related to her disappearance, contact West Valley City police at 801-840-4000. If you have information that should be considered for inclusion on the “Where is Susan?” page or a tip that might help answer what happened to her, email it to “findsusantips@sltrib.com.” If verified, information may be added to this page at the discretion of The Salt Lake Tribune.

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800 miles on rental car: As police searched his van a second time on Dec. 8, 2009, Josh Powell left the police station. At 10:30 p.m. that evening, Josh Powell went to the Hertz Rental Car office at the Salt Lake International Airport and rented a Ford Focus. By the time he returned the car at 7 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2009, Josh Powell had put more than 800 miles on it.

Josh’s new cell phone: On Dec. 8, 2009, Josh Powell voluntarily gave police his cell phone for "forensic review," according to a search warrant document. Police said that prior to handing over his phone, Josh Powell "removed the digital sim card without detectives knowing." Josh Powell bought a new cell phone and, on Dec. 9 at 4:20 p.m., activated it in Tremonton, Utah, which is 80 miles north of Salt Lake City and close to the Idaho border. (ADDED APRIL 30, 2012)

Charlie Powell’s comments: When the Comfort Inn employee greeted Josh Powell and his sons at their table on Dec. 7, 2009, Charlie Powell, then 4, looked at her and said, "Do you know what happened to my mom?" The employee was called away before hearing what else he had to say.

Police interviewed Charlie Powell on Dec. 8, 2009, at the West Valley City Police Department. According to a search warrant, Charlie told a detective that "his mommy went camping with them although she did not come back home with them and he did not know why."

By early January 2009, Josh Powell had relocated his sons to Puyallup, Wash. On Jan. 3, 2009, a Sunday school teacher there told Charlie that if he did not stop misbehaving, she would have to go get his mom or dad. Charlie told the teacher, who did not know his mother was missing, said with no hesitation or emotion: "My mom is dead."


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On Aug. 20, 2010, a daycare worker at the YMCA in Puyallup, Wash., called Child Protective Services about comments made by Charlie, then 5. Charlie was asked why he didn’t want to play with other children. During the exchange, Charlie responded that, "My little brother Braden tried to kill me, so he’s in Utah now living with my grandparents" — something that wasn’t true. Charlie also had described to other children how to kill and bury a bear, something he said he learned from a television program.

Braden Powell’s comments: In a court document, Chuck Cox said that in May 2010 his grandsons were able to visit with their great-grandparents. During that visit, Braden, who was 2 when his mom disappeared, looked at a woman in a magazine, pointed at her chest and said, "Mommy oucheey." (ADDED MAY 11, 2012)

Braden Powell also drew a picture while attending day camp that showed a car with three people in it. When asked who the people were, he identified himself, his brother and his father. Asked where his mom was, Braden said, "Mommy is in the trunk."

Safe deposit box letter: Police retrieved a hand-written letter from Susan Powell’s safe deposit box at Wells Fargo Bank, 5580 West Amelia Earhart Drive in Salt Lake City. Susan had accessed to box just twice, police say. The letter, dated June 28, 2008, was addressed to Susan’s family and friends. It was folded and stapled around the edges. In the letter, Susan said it should not be shown or given to her husband because she did not trust him. In the letter, Susan Powell described the couple’s ongoing marital problems. She wrote that Josh Powell had threatened to destroy her if she tried to divorce him. Susan also wrote that if she happened to die it might not be an accident, even if it looked like one.

Steve Koecher: Josh Powell and his father Steve advanced the theory that Susan "absconded" with someone. They publicly said they believed Susan might have run off with Steve Koecher, 30, a St. George, Utah, man who was last seen on Dec. 13, 2009, in Henderson, Nev. The Powells pointed out that Susan Powell and Koecher were about the same age, members of the LDS Church and both were in West Valley City during the week of their disappearances in December 2009.

On their website, the Powells alleged that Susan Powell and Koecher fled to Brazil, where they possibly married and started a new life. Steve Powell also shared that theory during a visit with a long-time friend in September 2010, going as far as to draw a map outlining his hypothesis of how Susan and Steve’s paths might have crossed around the time they both disappeared. The friend shared that information with police — and also told them of Steve Powell’s boast that an initial search at his home overlooked his porn cabinet. Police apparently misplaced the information and contacted the woman again in July 2011, a month before they conducted a second search at Powell’s Puyallup, Wash., home and the desert near Ely, Nevada, and asked her to resend the documents.

Police, as well as family members of both Susan Powell and Koecher, say there is no evidence supporting the Powells’ theory. (UPDATED MAY 4, 2012)

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