May 25

Still Searching for Susan

Tuesday night December 8th at 10:26pm, after being questioned by police, Josh Powell rented a Silver 2009 Ford Focus, and disappeared again for 22 hours.   Josh activated newly purchased cell phones in Tremonton, Utah on December 9th around 4pm.   When Josh returned the car on Thursday the 10th of December, 807 miles had been put on the rental car.  Police searched the rental car, Cadaver dogs did not alert on the rental car, so if Josh  was moving Susan’s body he had help.   It is 403 miles from Salt Lake City to a location Josh had photographed along I-84 just South of Baker City Oregon.  Police searched the location near I-84 where the photo had been taken, Nothing.

Was this photo a coincidence, mis-direction, or a clue?  I don’t know but I believe that in some old out building, abandoned shed, culvert or other structure or ditch near a road that was accessible that Wednesday morning , we could find Susan.   As her father I have to look.

As her father, I need the help of you good people living along this route, you know which roads get plowed, which gas stations may have been open, who owns which property, which buildings never get used but are accessible.  Perhaps someone will remember seeing tire tracks in the Snow at a locked gate, and thinking, “that’s strange probably just someone took a wrong turn”.  It would have seemed unimportant then, like a broken latch or a missing lock, or a lock that your key stopped working in that you had to replace, just an odd inconvenience at the time,  but hearing this information it now pops into your mind.  If needed law enforcement is ready and able to assist in searching, the case is not closed.    If law enforcement does not have sufficient resources, we have many people volunteering their services including dogs and equipment.  Even though the probable perpetrators have ended their own lives, Susan still needs to be found.

Michael Powell’s location has never been documented the week of December 7th, he and his younger sister did show up in Utah on the 12th of December to help their brother Josh.   Michael Powell’s Silver Ford Tarus broke down near Baker City, Oregon, 400 miles from Salt Lake City as he and sister returned home on December 15th.    Michael had the car towed to a Pendleton salvage yard to be destroyed, just a little odd at the time, nothing more.

Over a year later after learning more about Josh and Michael’s brotherly relationship, and hearing about a car being salvaged, the car was located it had not been destroyed and Cadaver dogs were taken to the salvage yard.  The dogs went directly to the partially salvaged vehicle and alerted on the trunk and rear seat.   Although nothing was found in the trunk, the dogs alerting on the trunk means they detected the scent of human decomposition present in the trunk.   Meaning that decomposing human remains, were in the trunk at some time.

Michael Powell committed suicide, so he isn’t giving anyone an explanation.  The logical and probable explanation is that the trunk was used to transport a decomposing human body or body parts.   Who’s body?   Given all the circumstances we are aware of, the probable answer is that it was Susan.

I was once told of a dog training exercise where Cadaver Dogs alerted on the site of a massive blood loss in a gravel pit, man Vs heavy equipment, the man did live due to ambulances, but the blood had just soaked into the ground decomposing.  The handlers were confused that the dogs were alerting on that spot, but after learning about the accident that had happened years earlier they realized the Dogs were right. (trust your dog)   If you’re a father with a missing daughter, that story still leaves you with the tiniest glimmer of hope rather than the alternative.

At last we now appear to have circumstantial evidence where Susan’s body may have gone.  It feels like it is a step closer to finding her.

Myself and an investigator from Winquist Investigations will begin by traveling to Pendleton on Tuesday the 28th to make local law enforcement aware of our concerns and to pass out flyers to gas stations, and people along the route as we head South to Tremonton.   I hope it jogs someone memory of seeing the two cars together, or one or both of them buying fuel, or shovels or anything.    As people begin to spend more time out doors, armed with this information we might get a break.  Maybe we will finally have the answers we need and be able to put our daughter to rest besides her children.  As I said before, I just have to keep looking.  Thank You for your help.

See Attached flyer.

Susan I-84 Flyer2


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  1. Oh my goodness this is the most info of facts I have ever read. I am in the middle of some life changing events but as soon as I can get my mind settled I want to read all the documents. Baker City is one of my favorite places in Oregon. God grant you safety in your search.

    • Lynn on May 25, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    The distance between the Salt Lake City airport and Ontario, Oregon is approximately 397 miles. If Josh did meet his brother Michael – this would be a strategic location. From Ontario there are two potential route choices – the freeway or two lane highway into isolated central Oregon. I tend to doubt Susan is in Idaho, due to the uncomfortable winter conditions during this time period, unless Josh dumped Susan’s body in Idaho and simply added mileage as a method of deception. I would initially focus on the central Oregon route.

    • Lynn on May 25, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    If Susan is in southern Idaho there are three possible isolated areas that would be accessible depending on snow conditions during a December time period: Rockland Valley, Arbon Valley, and City of Rocks. All are isolated and accessible from the freeway. If Micheal was involved, again, Idaho is not likely. Isolated central Oregon is your best initial choice. Weather conditions are milder in central Oregon vs colder southern Idaho complicating the disposal of a body.

    1. On these particular days in question my husband and I were traveling from Washington, DC to Boise, Idaho. When we got to Wyoming/Nebraska area (maybe it was Iowa), we heard about Susan on the news. Immediately thought, husband did it. Then we drove through Salt Lake and up 84 to Boise. From the exit at Snowville to about Twin Falls THERE IS NOTHING out there. Between Twin Falls and Mountain Home there is NOTHING there. Ontario, Oregon is only 45 minutes from Boise, Idaho so the weather conditions would not be any different there than in Idaho and from my personal experience of that week, IT WAS COLD EVERYWHERE! It didn’t matter if you were in Twin Falls, Salt Lake, Boise, Mountain Home, Eagle (where we stayed), or Ontario, it was frozen and COLD. If the dogs alerted on the car dumped in Baker City, I would start there.

      My first cross country trip to Boise there was massive winds so they closed 84 from Snowville to Mountain Home. We had to get off on this road that was 2 lanes all through the canyon by the Snake River. There were huge gorges and miles and miles of road where there just wasn’t anything.

      The murderer wasn’t that smart, he was a germophobe and he was lazy. He didn’t do all this on his own, he would not have been able to pick up a now frozen body and move it to “hide” it better. He was just too weak and her body would have been super heavy.

    • Lynn on May 28, 2013 at 9:58 am

    I was born and currently reside in southern Idaho and have lived in Provo, Boise, and Seattle. I have traveled this area extensively with family and friends spread throughout the northwest/intermountain west. What appears to the traveler as “there is nothing” is more densely populated then it might appear (e.g., communities, farms, well traveled roads). There is also a dramatic temperature and weather differential between southeastern Idaho and northern Utah/central Oregon. I know. I live here.

    With that said, Susan could be anywhere. The chances of finding her will require the help of community members, farmers, hikers, hunters, etc. It may be take years but the chances are good that her body will be found.

    I commend Susan for being a valiant and righteous young woman. She deserved a good husband and family. It is heartbreaking.

    • Lynn on May 28, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    I reside in southern Idaho and have lived in Provo, Boise, and Seattle. I have traveled this area extensively with family and friends spread throughout the northwest/intermountain west. What appears to the traveler as “nothing” is more densely populated then it might appear (e.g., communities, farms, roads). There is a dramatic temperature and weather differential between southeastern Idaho and northern Utah/central Oregon. The areas I have noted are more isolated due to several reasons including a higher percentage of federal land.

    1. That particular week we went from Washington DC through some states to Wyoming to Salt Lake City up 15/84 to Boise. We were all over Boise and eastern Oregon because we were there for a court case and to visit my stepchildren. There had been a huge snow storm that went through the few days before and was holding in place and not moving. On one part of the road in Iowa, I believe it was there, were THOUSANDS of cars all over the roads, off the roads inside houses and barns from the snow storm. There were massive pileups and abandoned cars for miles and miles and miles. At that particular time of the year the weather was bad, no matter where you lived. From Iowa to Boise it was probably 10 and below the entire trip. I could look back at some photos of the temperature gauge on my car, I think it was -1 and -2 a few times on that trip.

      I know there are people who live in those areas but there are a lot of people that have thousands and thousands of acres of land. There are not other people living on that land besides care takers, animal care takers, farm hands, etc. There can be time when you travel for miles there that there isn’t another home, fire, light. We had clients that had wildlife hunting preserves, ranches, homesteads that had been set up for years in these areas. Trust me if they knew someone was on their land they would have shot them then asked questions. I am not a “traveler,” I lived in Boise, worked in that entire area and would travel for hundreds of miles to care for my clients.

      When we got back from our trip to Boise, we were greeted with over 15″ of snow in Virginia that we had to dig out before we could even get into our home. The snow that hit the west had made it’s way across the country to the east and it hit. The weather can differ but it’s not going to be balmy and 70 in southern Idaho and 12 below in Baker City, Oregon.

      So on December 9, 2009 in Mallard City, Idaho it was a high of 17, low of -10. In Boise it was a high of 17 and a low of -6. In Bakery City, OR it was a high of 17 and a low of -9. Pretty much cold and frozen.

        • Lynn on June 5, 2013 at 9:23 pm

        The region between Tremonton and Pendleton is extensive when you consider the task of finding Susan. Areas selected to search must be based on investigative clues and probability levels.

        Rhonda’s perceptions of this area are not accurate. First, weather is a factor and southern Idaho is always significantly colder then Utah, western Idaho, and eastern Oregon. Both altitude and the weather patterns of the Snake River plain are contributing factors.

        Second, the area, particularly between Declo and Mountain Home, is well traveled and populated. Very few farms and ranches are “thousands and thousands” of acres, farm hands are few, and people don’t shoot and ask questions later. This isn’t a western movie.

        Selecting an area should consider road access, isolation, a suspect’s area familiarity, and investigative clues. To me, this points to eastern and central Oregon – particularly the southern end of the Blue Mountains.

        The highest areas of probability in Idaho point to the road west toward the City of Rocks, the Rockland Valley and Arbon Valley due to isolation, road access, and proximate location to Utah. Yes, Idaho has many isolated areas and I have had elk, moose, and cougar in my backyard occasionally. But if Josh drove further west he was headed to Oregon.

          • admin on June 17, 2013 at 9:44 am

          You bring up some very good points, Therefore coordinated search areas will be carefully chosen and coordinated searches will likely be few. However people like yourself, Ranchers, Farmers, Hunters, Law Enforcement, road crews, those that maintain rest areas, state parks, Federal property, and know about areas that may have been accessible are the ones most likely to take a minute and look into that culvert, or abandoned shack. Safety, respect for property rights, obtaining proper authorization are important for anyone that wants to search a specific area. Eastern and Central Oregon are certainly possibilities as well.

    • Amy on May 29, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I hope you find her, if for nothing else than to lay her to rest with her boys. She deserves that much.

  2. I am very glad to hear that you have hired a private investigator and will begin investigating in this area. I am confident that you have more opportunities to find clues doing this alone with someone you are paying. There is a greater incentive to find something. Praying that God will direct your steps and lead you where you need to go and show you who to talk with along the way.

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