Susan’s father claims bones were found in Oregon search

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PORTLAND -- The father of Susan Cox Powell claims police recovered bones during their search of a heavily-forested Oregon property.

"They did find things," he said in an interview Friday night with FOX 13. "They found some bones out there. They don't know if they're animal or person bones, so they're still processing the things they found out there."

Deputy West Valley City Police Chief Mike Powell (no relation to Susan or the Powell family) insisted that investigators found nothing significant during the search.

"We found nothing during the search that would help us find Susan," he told FOX 13 in response to Cox's claims. "We did not find anything significant -- at all."

For two days, cadaver dogs searched the property near Scotts Mills, Ore., for any sign of Susan Cox Powell. Cox, who was on scene during the bulk of the search, acknowledged that the dogs didn't alert like they normally would.

"It's true that they did not go out to a spot and alert and say right here and they dug down and found a body. No, that didn't happen," Cox said. "But they did go out there and find bones that they thought may be animal but an anthropologist has to look at it and have it be tested, so we don't know what they found."

The search may be the final one for Susan Cox Powell, who vanished from her West Valley City home in 2009. Police were acting on a tip Cox had received that pointed them to the rural Oregon property, where relatives of Susan's husband, Josh Powell, had once lived.

Josh Powell was considered by police to be a "person of interest" in Susan's disappearance. He killed himself and the couple's children in an explosion in Graham, Wash., last year.

Speaking to FOX 13 on Friday night, Cox said police had also been looking closely at Josh Powell's brother, Michael Powell. He committed suicide earlier this year.

"From the things that they (detectives) told us, Michael definitely had a role in her disappearance," Cox said.

A lawyer for the Cox family said she took a deposition from Michael Powell last year as part of a series of lawsuits filed in connection with the deaths of Susan's children, Charlie and Braden. Anne Bremner said she questioned Powell for eight hours about his whereabouts before, during and after Susan's disappearance. After Susan disappeared, Bremner said, Michael Powell told her he drove to Utah.

"He said that he drove three mountain passes to see Josh and help Josh," she told FOX 13 on Friday. "He also said that his car, a Taurus, broke down along the way."

Bremner said Michael Powell told her in the deposition that he had the car totaled and sold for scrap. She said police have also indicated he had an interest in seeing that car destroyed.

"There's been some suspicion that if he did that, it's because he had further involvement than he admitted to," she said.

West Valley City police have refused to say if they believe Michael Powell may have been involved in Susan's disappearance. On Wednesday, as cadaver dogs searched the Oregon property for Susan, FOX 13 asked deputy chief Mike Powell about anyone else who may have been involved.

"We have stated from the very beginning that anybody that has any involvement we consider a person of interest," he said at the time. "We continue to state that. We are looking at any possibility."

West Valley City police have said they are close to exhausting all leads in the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell. The police department has scheduled a news conference Monday afternoon to discuss the case.