Susan Powell's Husband Prepares to Leave State Amid Search for Missing Wife

Susan Powell's friends and family shocked that husband is leaving mid-search.

ByABC News via logo
January 4, 2010, 7:27 AM

Jan. 8, 2010— -- Family and friends of missing Utah mother Susan Powell say they are floored that her husband is packing up the family's belongings and preparing to move out of state while ducking questions from police and the public.

Joshua Powell has been named a person of interest in the Dec. 6 disappearance of his wife but police say there is nothing they can do to prevent his relocating about 800 miles away in Washington state.

"Josh has been free to come and go," West Valley City Assistant Police Chief Craig Black told ABC News. "And we're still waiting for Josh to cooperate with us and talk with us."

Powell's family told "Good Morning America" that he has packed up the house he shared with his wife and two young sons and, they believe, will soon put it up for sale.

"We'd like to see him here helping out with Susan's search," Joshua Powell's brother-in-law, Kirk Graves, said. "But he's not."

Emotions surrounding Susan Powell's disappearance and her husband's apparent lack of cooperation are running high in the close-knit Mormon community.

Neighbor Tim Peterson said he confronted Joshua Powell's brother as he helped packed up the house.

"I says, 'Did you happen to notice that Susan's gone?' I says, 'Because I don't see you guys doing anything about it,'" Peterson said. "He just gave me a blank look, just kind of like his brother would."

Susan Powell was reported missing the day after Joshua Powell packed up the couple's young sons for a middle-of-the-night camping trip in below-freezing temperatures. It was a trip, her family has since said, that Susan Powell would have never allowed.

Police have said repeatedly that Joshua Powell has hampered the investigation by refusing to answer several questions. Investigators have been out to the area where Joshua Powell reportedly took the boys. But they have not found any evidence to corroborate his story and said he would not show them the exact camping location.

Investigators said they have uncovered an e-mail from Susan Powell in which she tells friends that her marriage is troubled.

Powell hired noted Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney Scott Williams as attention turned on him.

Williams told ABC News that Powell was not going to comment and would rather keep the focus on the search for his wife.

Neighbor Peterson said, "I sure hope they find enough incriminating evidence against him that they can throw him in jail. In my opinion, Josh is the only one who knows where she's at. You know, Josh and God. That's, that's it."