Missing Utah Mom's Husband Hinders Investigation, Police Say

The husband of a missing Utah woman appeared happy two days before she disappeared and cried through church this past weekend, two women who know the couple said Tuesday.

But Josh Powell is now hindering the investigation because he didn't show up for an interview Monday on the advice of his attorney, said West Valley City Police Capt. Tom McLachlan.

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Susan Powell, 28, was reported missing Dec. 7 when she didn't show up to work and her children weren't dropped off at day care.

Josh Powell told police he took his two boys, ages 2 and 4, camping early that morning and returned in the evening.

Kiirsi Hellewell, Susan Powell's best friend, said she has been in contact with Josh Powell on a daily basis but hasn't asked him specific questions about Susan in an effort not to interfere with the investigation or to lose his trust as a friend.

"He doesn't do a lot of talking. He mostly looks upset and confused and is crying most of the time," Hellewell said.

She said she sat next to Josh Powell at church on Sunday and that he cried through most of the service.

It was at that same church on Dec. 5 that the last known pictures of Susan Powell were taken. The couple and their children attended a Christmas breakfast, where one picture shows a smiling Josh Powell with a camera hanging around his neck, talking with his children while his wife stands a few feet away reaching for food.

"Susan and her family were very normal and seemed all happy to be there. We actually talked to them quite a bit. Josh seemed really happy to be there and he asked me to take a picture of he and the family, and yes he has the picture," Mindy Kay Perry Guzman, who took the picture, wrote in a message to The Associated Press.

McLachlan said police initially interviewed Josh Powell when he returned home Dec. 7 and then again the next day. Police have also interviewed the Powells' older son.

Investigators said they haven't been able to verify the camping trip because snow had covered the site — Simpson Springs on the historic Pony Express Trail in Utah's west desert.

The Powell home was locked when police arrived and they broke in, fearing the family had suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning. They found no signs of forced entry.

Susan Powell's father, Charles Cox, has said police found a wet spot in the house being dried by two fans when they entered.

McLachlan declined to comment on that but said Josh Powell's refusal to speak with police again is costing authorities valuable time in the effort to find his wife.

"We are very disappointed in that because he is not a suspect and this delays the investigation — it slows things down," McLachlan said. "His stated purpose is he wants to find Susan and that is also our stated purpose on this missing persons case, and this complicates the issue."

Josh Powell hired Scott Williams, a Salt Lake City defense attorney who often represents high-profile defendants in criminal cases. Williams did not immediately return a message left at his office Tuesday.