New Susan Cox Powell search brings back memories for former police chief

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WEST VALLEY CITY – Former West Valley City Police Chief Buzz Nielsen was surprised to hear about the search in Oregon but hopeful this will be different.

Nielsen has been retired for months now, but admits this was the most difficult case during his career. Like everyone else he wants closure, and a phone call.

“It’s been really difficult,” he said.

Nielsen was surprised to see Fox 13 at his home Wednesday night. He was even more surprised to hear about the renewed search efforts for Susan Cox Powell near Salem, Oregon.

“It could be evidence, it could be any of that stuff or it could be the body,” he said.

Nielsen wouldn’t speculate about what led police out of state but says the tip must have been solid.

“When you get a lead you always have to weigh the lead and you have to say is there any possibility that we could have something you always err on the side of let’s go find out,” Nielsen said.

Search after search has turned up nothing but Nielsen says the detectives’ commitment to the case hasn’t wavered since Susan’s disappearance in December 2009.

“I committed to him back then that I said, ‘Chuck we’ll do everything we can in our power and use all our contacts and associates and friends and brothers in law enforcement and we’ll go til we can’t go any further but we will give it, at the end of the day we will have given it every single thing we can,'” says Nielsen.

As Nielsen sat in his recliner during our interview he said, “Man I’m optimistic.”

All he can think about is that phone call he’s been waiting for all these years.

“Out of courtesy and professional courtesy they will call me, Chuck might. And gosh I’m, I’m kind of, I hope I get a phone call,” he said. “I’m just thinking there’s another step they’ve apparently discovered and they’re working it and that’s good.”

The former police chief revisited some memories during our interview, about the day Susan disappeared, to most recent when her two young boys were killed at the hands of their father, Josh Powell.