SALT LAKE CITY – The father-in-law of a Utah mother missing for nearly two years said Friday authorities seized computers and journals during an extensive hours-long search of his Washington state home.
"They went through every room in the house, the garage, even the crawl space," Steve Powell told The Associated Press.
"They just left piles of things everywhere. They took a lot of stuff."
The renewed effort in the search for Susan Cox Powell came just hours after the case spiraled into an emotional saga pitting one side of her family against the other. The Powell family has throughout the investigation claimed they believe Susan Powell ran off with another man. Her family, however, has just been praying she's still alive, and has pleaded with her husband, Josh, to cooperate with authorities, who say he's been evasive.
He is the only person of interest in his wife's disappearance, but he has not been charged or detained and denies killing his wife or knowing anything about where she is.
Josh Powell's father, Steve Powell, claimed in a nationally televised interview Thursday that he had a flirtatious relationship with his daughter-in-law, that they were in love -- something her parents adamantly denied, saying Steve Powell initiated unwanted sexual advances toward her.
On Thursday, authorities from Utah converged on the Powell's home in Puyallup, Wash., searching for journals from everyone, including Susan Powell, Steve Powell and Josh Powell, Steve Powell said.
He said they seized every computer in the home.
"They took the whole computers. They didn't just take hard drives," Steve Powell said. "They had a warrant, I guess, to pick up the journals and any electronic media that may have had the journals on them."
Powell said authorities also seized thumb drives, CDs and paper journals from the home.
Police have declined to comment on what they were seeking or what they found.
"We came here looking for specific things, and some of those things we've been able to find," West Valley City police Lt. Bill Merritt said Thursday night. He called the evidence collected "very, very important" to the investigation.
The Powell family has been portraying Susan as promiscuous and emotionally unstable and had been offering as proof several diary pages from the missing woman's teenage years. Her family says the entries were written by a young girl and have no bearing on the 28-year-old's disappearance. They've threatened to sue if the Powell family published them as promised.
Police say Josh Powell has refused to answer questions about a supposed midnight camping trip he said he took with the couple's sons -- then ages 4 and 2 -- in the mountains west of Salt Lake City the night before Susan Powell was reported missing. She was last seen by her husband Dec. 6, 2009, in her West Valley City, Utah, home outside Salt Lake City. She was reported missing the next day when she didn't show up for work.
"I'm still thinking she left," Steve Powell said Friday. "Hopefully they'll be able to find her at some point ... We don't believe she's dead."
Susan Powell's father, 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 police. He said Susan Powell never had feelings for Steve Powell and "wanted as far away from him as possible."
He said his family remains hopeful, but they are preparing "for the worst."