(Much longer write-up on the Charley Project link above. Snipped here for brevity.)
The next day [Monday, December 7, 2009], both Susan and Josh didn't show up for work or call their employers to say they would be absent, and they also failed to drop their children off at day care. Authorities issued a missing persons bulletin for Susan, Josh and their two sons, two-year-old Charlie and four-year-old Braden.
Josh and the children returned home at 5:00 p.m., but Susan has never been heard from again. Josh said he had taken his sons camping in the desert at Simpson Springs, along the Pony Express Trail, late on Sunday night. He returned home to find Susan missing.
He said he last saw Susan at their home at 12:30 a.m. on December 7, as he was setting out on the camping trip. Susan didn't go with them because she felt sick. Josh said he didn't go to work on Monday because he got confused about what day of the week it was.
Authorities quickly classified Susan's disappearance as suspicious and executed a search warrant on her home. Her family described her as a devoted mother who would not have abandoned her children, and she left her purse, keys and cellular phone behind at home.
Investigators stated on the day Susan was reported missing, they noticed a large wet spot in her home and fans blowing on it to dry it. They questioned Josh's story, stating they didn't know why he would have taken two toddlers camping in the cold weather. The temperatures during the time of the purported camping trip were well below freezing, with mixed rain and snow.
Police searched the site where Josh said he had set up camp, but they were unable to determine whether anyone had camped there recently. Braden did confirm that the trip had taken place, however.
A week after Susan's disappearance, Josh hired an attorney. Authorities named him as a person of interest in her case, and stated he hadn't cooperated with the investigation. The police briefly impounded the family's minivan and searched it. During the day that the van was in police custody, Josh rented a car to drive. Investigators later determined he'd driven it hundreds of miles before he returned it, but the car didn't have any stored GPS data to indicate where it had been driven.
A neighbor said Josh appeared at his home when it was time to return the rented car and get his van back from the police. The neighbor stated he was acting oddly, his hands were badly windburned and he kept putting lotion on them.
In January 2010, a month after Susan's disappearance, Josh packed his family's belongings, put their house up for rent and moved Puyallup, Washington with the children. Both he and Susan are originally from Washington and have relatives there.
For about two months after her disappearance, Susan's family stood by Josh and said they didn't believe he would have harmed her. In February 2010, however, a family friend appointed as spokesperson for Susan's family told the media they'd learned that Josh had been emotionally abusing Susan for years and there was at least one episode of physical abuse as well.
Susan had reportedly said she planned to leave Josh on April 6, 2010, the couple's wedding anniversary, if their marriage didn't improve before then. In the aftermath of her disappearance, relations between Josh and her parents became so heated that a judge ordered him and Chuck Cox to keep at least 500 feet apart.
In late March 2012, newly unsealed documents revealed additional evidence police had that tied Josh to Susan's disappearance. Her blood had been found on the tile floor next to the couch in the family home and her cellular phone was in Josh's car, something he couldn't explain.
When Josh turned Susan's phone over to the police, it was turned off and missing its SIM card, the portable memory chip that stores information about the device. He later gave his own phone over to authorities and it too was missing the SIM card.
Susan had $1.5 million in insurance on her life. A short time after her disappearance, Josh began drawing on her retirement account, and he canceled all her upcoming chiropractic appointments.
Susan left a will in a safe deposit box registered in her name only, along with a handwritten letter addressed to her family and friends, saying Josh had threatened to "destroy" her and told her the children "will not have a mother and father" if she divorced him. The letter stated if she died, it "may not be an accident, even if it looks like one."
Charlie told the police that Susan accompanied them on the camping trip the night of her disappearance, but she didn't come back with them and he didn't know why. Weeks after his mother's disappearance, after he had moved to Washington, Charlie told a teacher that his mother was dead.
MEDIA - SUSAN COX POWELL: Missing from West Valley City, UT since 7 Dec 2009 - Age 28