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Did Susan Powell's brother-in-law hide her body?
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As West Valley City police call off the latest search for Susan Powell, new details have surfaced about the possible involvement of her late brother-in-law in her disappearance.

Susan Powell was last seen Dec. 6, 2009, at her West Valley City home, which she shared with her husband, Josh Powell, who police have said was the only person of interest in the investigation.

But fairly soon after she vanished, police started seeing clues that her husband's brother, Michael C. Powell, may have been involved, said Anne Bremner, a Seattle attorney for Susan Powell's family, in an interview with People magazine.

It published an online story including Bremner's interview on Friday.

In the interview, Bremner related that police learned that Michael Powell had his Ford Taurus towed 100 miles then sold for salvage because, police think, he had Susan Powell's body in there. "Then he hired militaristic satellite photography people to go look at the wrecking yard to see if his car had been completely destroyed, but it wasn't," she added.

According to People, Bremner also said that cadaver dogs came to the tow yard and only indicated on his car.

Utah police repeatedly questioned Michael Powell, she told People.

But on Feb. 11, Powell committed suicide by jumping from a building in downtown Minneapolis.

Michael Powell had said in a deposition that he had driven to Oregon and abandoned a vehicle there, according to Bremner. Susan Powell's father, Chuck Cox, said that an aunt and uncle of Josh Powell rented a property — a single house on about 180 acres — in Scotts Mills, Ore., at the time of the disappearance.

The tiny Oregon town is 805 miles from West Valley City. While police were searching his minivan on Dec. 8, 2009, Josh Powell rented a car and brought it back Dec. 10, 2009, with more than 800 miles on it.

Cox passed along a tip from an anonymous source that his daughter's remains might be in Scotts Mills. West Valley Police descended on the heavily wooded area this week and searched it with cadaver dogs for two days.

But they found nothing.

They will follow up on tips that come in, but with the Oregon search called off, West Valley City Police Deputy Chief Mike Powell said his investigators have chased and meticulously analyzed almost every lead they've had in the 3½ years since Susan Powell disappeared.

The People article has a significant amount of misquotes, Mike Powell said, adding that only the police department has the facts. The department plans to hold a news conference Monday afternoon to give detailed updates about the case.

Michael Powell had been an ardent defender of his brother. Last year, Josh Powell killed himself and his two sons, Charlie and Braden, in an intentional house fire.

After that, Michael Powell was embroiled in a legal battle with Susan's parents over $1.5 million in insurance policies issued to Josh Powell and his sons. About four months before Josh Powell died, he had changed his policy to list Michael Powell, rather than his wife and a family trust, as the primary beneficiary.

Josh Powell made the changes to the policies three days after Charlie and Braden were placed in the temporary care of Susan's parents.

Bremner said she's interested in seeing more work at the property, including the possibility of volunteer searchers.

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mikeypanda

Mystery • Attorney for her parents shares suspicions about the late Michael Powell.
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