Josh Powell, the only person of interest in the disappearance of his wife, Susan Powell, today made a teary plea for his wife's family to leave him and the couple's young sons in peace.
After a shouting match between his father and his father in law at a Puyallup, Wash., remembrance rally for the young mother, who disappeared Dec. 6, 2009, while Josh Powell said he was camping with their two children, the man arrived on the scene and spoke to reporters from ABC affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle.
"Putting this in my neighborhood is not appropriate," Powell said. "They're trying to push an agenda. ... I don't know what happened to her. There are 1,000 different theories that people need to consider in strong and serious ways."
Friends and family of Susan Powell were holding a rally, passing out flyers and asking passing drivers to honk their horns if they remembered the missing woman.
"Their group has accused me of murdering my daughter-in-law," Steve Powell said.
Josh Powell, 34, has maintained that he and his sons were camping in the middle of a blizzard the night his wife went missing from their West Valley, Utah, home, and that Powell left on her own. He has described his wife to the Salt Lake City Tribune as "extremely unstable."
Josh Powell has since taken his kids to live with his father in Puyallup, the town where both he Susan Powell grew up.
Investigators have called Josh Powell a person of interest in the case.
"We're dealing with a lot of uncooperative behavior from Josh Powell," West Valley Police Sgt. Mike Powell told ABC affiliate KTVX in Salt Lake City Friday. "He has just not come forward, he's not cooperative with police. And as a result we are having to utilize these different aspects, such as information from search warrants to be able to obtain some of the investigative information we may or may not need."
The confrontation today occurred as detectives were scouring rocky hillsides and abandoned mine tunnels in the Nevada desert in a new search for any signs of Susan Powell.
And if police know what they're looking for in the hunt for Susan Powell, they aren't telling reporters, either, despite having invited members of the media to accompany them on the search.
"The specifics of the search warrant, I'm not able to address," Sgt. Powell said. "I'm not able to answer that directly at this point. What I can tell you is obviously things don't happen overnight."
Chuck Cox told KOMO-TV the West Valley police announcement gave him no confidence in the new effort.
"I was disappointed in the news conference, they didn't tell me anything," he said. "That's basically what I thought was what's the point."
He said that as far as he knows his daughter had never been in the area around Ely, Nev., where police began searching this week.
"I don't know on what basis they're searching that area," he said.
The West Valley police, who have led the investigation, descended on the mountains around Ely after receiving what they called "credible information" that directed them there.
The town is more than 200 miles southwest of West Valley, where Powell, 28, at the time she disappeared, lived with her husband, Josh, and their two children, then ages 2 and 4.
Josh Powell, who rarely speaks publicly about the case, said earlier this week he welcomes the new search.
"I don't know what to expect, but you know, anything that breaks in the case is a good thing," he said.
Police said they are searching the hundreds of abandoned mines in the Squab Peak area near Ely, looking for any clues to what happened to Susan Powell.
"Most of these mines we go into they're about 50 to 100 feet back, solid
rock face," Sgt. Powell said. "We're going back and clearing each one as we come to them."
But one Bureau of Land Management official described the effort as "like finding a needle in the haystack," because there are so many unknown mines in the area and some run very deep.
"I've seen them as small as 20, 30 feet, or they can go a couple hundred feet," Chris Hanefeld of the Bureau of Land Management said.