The remains of a woman found on a Wyoming ranch are not those of Susan Powell, a mother who disappeared from her Utah home on a wintry night while her husband claims he took their two young children camping, officials said.
The Albany County Coroner determined it was not Powell through dental records, and said the remains are still unidentified, according to a statement this evening from the Albany County Sheriff's Office.
The unidentified woman was described as caucasian, 30 to 40 years old and about 5 foot 3 with short brown hair.
Officials were tipped off to the location of the unidentified body on Sept. 9 by a sheep herder who found the body on a ranch outside Laramie, Wyo.
Police are "estimating she died last fall in 2009 to as recently as spring 2010," said Albany County Sherriff's spokesman Lt. Michael Garcia.
Garcia said the sheriff's office had been contacted by law enforcement officials in Utah looking to determine if the body belonged to Powell, who vanished without a trace from her home in West Valley City, Utah, on Dec. 9, 2009.
"The physical description is a little bit closer than some of the other bodies that have been found," said Shelby Gifford, spokeswoman for Susan Powell's family.
"Every time, police let us know they've found a body, it's a lurch in your throat," she said. "If it's her we don't want to know she's dead, and if it's not her, it means she is still shes still missing and we don't have closure. It's been a waiting game for months."
Powell's husband Josh Powell has been named a person of interest, but never arrested or charged. He told authorities he took his two sons, then 4 and 3, to go camping some two hours away around midnight, despite it being a cold and wet December night.
When they returned, Susan Powell was gone. Police found her purse and keys in the house and, strangely, two fans drying a wet spot on the living room floor. Susan Powell was last seen on Dec. 6, 2009.
"A lot of bodies have been found in the past nine months. If there's a remote possibility, we make contact with the agency that found the body and send any relevant information," said Sgt. Mike Powell, spokesman for the West Valley City Police Department.
Powell said his department had as recently as last week been in touch with a Washington state police department about a body found there.
"It would be a mistake to go crazy over any particular incident until we had something solid. We are very much aware of this body and have contacted Laramie," he said.
Garcia said no one matching the description of the woman has gone missing from the Laramie area.
"The next step is to positively identify the body and determine if someone reported missing fits that description," he said.
Garcia said police departments around the country will send his office dental records and other information about women missing from those areas. The woman will likely be identified through her dental records, he said.
"A lot of families out there are missing loved ones," Garcia said. "We don't want to give anyone false hope."