Susan Powell Family 'Not Neccessarily Surprised' By Focus on Husband

Missing mom's family says Joshua Powell's camping story a "red flag."

ByABC News via GMA logo
December 10, 2009, 8:15 PM

Dec. 17, 2009 — -- The family of missing Utah mother Susan Powell is "saddened, not neccessarily surprised" that the police named her husband as a person if interest in her disappearance.

At a news conference held today in Washington state, family friend Shelby Gifford said Joshua Powell's story that he took the couple's two young sons, age 4 and 2, on a camping trip in the middle of a cold abd rainy night was a '"red flag." Susan Powell, they said, would never have let her boys be taken into the woods in below-freezing temperatures.

"We believe police would not have made that determination without good reason," Gifford said, referring to their classification of Joshua Powell as a "person of interest." "That concerns us greatly. That makes us very sad."

Gifford and Susan Powell's father described the missing woman, who was last seen on Dec. 6 and reported missing the next day, as an "exceptional mother" who would never have willingly abandoned her children.

West Valley City Assistant Chief Craig Black told "Good Morning America" today that it was a "likely possibility" that Susan Powell's disappearance involved foul play, but her father Charles Cox said he simply can't think the worst.

"As a father I can't give up the hope that she is alive," Cox said today.

"We don't have all the facts," Gifford said. "We are left to speculate about somethings as much as everyone else has."

Even Joshua Powell's own family members said they wouldn't be surprised if Joshua Powell is eventually charged in the case.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he gets arrested in the next seven days," Joshua Powell's brother-in-law Kirk Graves told ABC News. "Even if he's innocent, there's more than he's telling us."

The police have said Joshua Powell has been uncooperative, refusing to take investigators to the site where he allegedly camped with his sons and avoiding questions during an interview Tuesday.

"Josh's reasons for not wanting to approach the police department or come and work with us in a little more forthcoming manner have kind of generated some controversy among the officers," Black said. '"And it's something that's been questioned by the community members who have been following the case."

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Susan and Joshua Powell were married in 2001, nine months after Susan Powell graduated from high school. The couple met at church and had some trouble in their marriage recently. Gifford said Susan Powell, the third of four daughters, had seen a marriage counselor at some point.

During the interview Tuesday with his lawyer present, Powell responded to basic questions about the clothes his wife was wearing and what her jewelry looked like, Black said, but even after being reminded that this was in the best interest of his wife, Joshua Powell refused to answer "hard, direct questions."

He declined to elaborate on exactly what questions Powell would not answer.