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Police search home of husband and father-in-law of missing woman Susan Powell

Susan Powell
Susan Powell Hardman Photography/Facebook

(CBS/KIRO/AP) TACOMA, Wash. - Investigators searched the home of Josh Powell, the husband of missing Utah mother Susan Powell, on Thursday afternoon. It's the same house Powell shares with his father, Steve Powell.

PICTURES: Missing Utah Mother Susan Powell

Josh Powell was detained for a time outside of his home while the police served a search warrant. Powell has since been released, reports CBS affiliate KIRO.

Investigators said Josh Powell has recently stopped returning phone calls from authorities seeking his help in finding Susan. However, he appeared calm when they arrived at his two-story home in the suburbs Thursday afternoon. Detectives spent several hours combing through the house and vehicles. They were in search of evidence that they could use in the case.

Officials seized several computers while loading sealed boxes and bags into a mobile command center.

Josh Powell is the only person of interest in Susan Powell's disappearance although he has not been charged or detained. He was allowed to leave the area with their children as investigators went through the property.

The search came just hours after the case spiraled into an emotional saga pitting the family against one another. Josh Powell's father, Steve Powell, claimed in a national television interview that he and Susan Powell had a flirtatious relationship and that he believed they were in love.

Josh Powell's family also claims Susan Powell was sexually promiscuous, emotionally unstable and suicidal - offering as proof several diary pages from Susan's teenage years. Her family says the entries were written by a young girl still growing up and have no bearing on her disappearance. They say they'll sue if the Powell family publishes them as promised, reports the station.

Josh Powell, who now lives with family in Puyallup, Wash., has mostly remained quiet throughout the investigation. But in national television interviews on Thursday, he denied killing his wife or having anything to do with her disappearance.

"I would never even hurt her," a tearful Josh Powell told The Early Show on CBS. "People who know me know that I could never hurt Susan."

Josh Powell, who still wears his wedding ring, said he loves his wife. He said she came from an emotionally abusive home with controlling, manipulative parents.

On Tuesday, a judge ordered Josh Powell and Chuck Cox, Susan Powell's father, to stay away from each other. Chuck Cox has never said he believes his son-in-law is responsible for Susan's disappearance, but wants him to be more forthcoming with the police who claim Josh Powell hasn't been cooperative.

Susan Powell was last seen at her West Valley City, Utah, home on Dec. 6, 2009. Police identified her husband as a person of interest after he claimed to have taken their two boys, then ages 2 and 4, on a midnight camping trip in sub-freezing temperatures.

Police say Josh Powell has refused to answer questions about that supposed midnight camping trip.

Pictures: Missing Utah Mother Susan Powell

Complete Coverage of Susan Powell on Crimesider