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Susan Powell Update: Authorities search for her remains on rural Oregon property

Ken Landgrebe lights a candle next to photographs of Susan Cox Powell and her sons Braden and Charlie during a candlelight vigil at McKinley Park in Tacoma, Wash., Feb. 6, 2012, the day after Braden and Charlie Powell were killed with their father, Josh Powell, when, police said, Josh Powell set fire to the house they were in. AP Photo

Susan Powell, Utah mom missing since Dec. 6, 2009.
Susan Powell, Utah mom missing since Dec. 6, 2009.
Personal Photo
(CBS/AP) OLYMPIA, Wash. - Authorities investigating the disappearance of Utah mother Susan Powell spent two days this week searching a rural Oregon property for her remains, Powell's father said.

Chuck Cox said in an interview Wednesday night that the search didn't turn up any sign of his daughter but he'll keep looking. The property east of Salem, Ore., was in a remote area but had ties to the Powell family, Cox said.

Susan Powell was reported missing in December 2009 after she didn't show up for work. Her husband, Josh, maintained his innocence and said he took the couple's young boys on a midnight camping trip in freezing temperatures the night his wife disappeared.

In February 2012, Josh Powell locked a social worker out of his home at the start of a supervised visit, then killed himself and the couple's two young children, attacking his young sons with a hatchet and then setting the house ablaze. Days earlier, a court had ordered Powell to undergo an intensive psychosexual evaluation as part of a custody dispute.

Josh Powell was never charged in his wife's disappearance, but unsealed documents say authorities found Susan Powell's blood on a floor next to a sofa that appeared to have been recently cleaned, with two fans set up to blow on it. Investigators also found life insurance policies on Susan Powell and determined that Josh Powell had filed paperwork to withdraw her retirement account money about 10 days after her disappearance.

Anne Bremner, an attorney for the Cox family, said the brother of Josh Powell had said in a deposition that he had driven to Oregon and abandoned a vehicle there. The brother, Michael Powell, committed suicide earlier this year.

Bremner said she's still interested in seeing more work at the property, including the possibility of having volunteers go to the site to help search.

A spokesman for the West Valley City police in Utah, which is handling the Powell investigation, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Cox said he appreciated that investigators spent time on the Oregon search, saying it showed a dedication and determination to find his daughter.

Complete coverage of the Susan Powell case on Crimesider

  • Iris Carreras

    Iris Carreras covers crime for CBSNews.com

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