Susan Cox Update: Police Sifting Through Soil Where Dogs Hit
Please note that cadaver dogs have an amazing ability in their ability to discern human decomposition. Analysis update tonight.
police sifting through dirt at Susan Powell search site
BY ROXANA ORELLANA AND NATE CARLISLE
The Salt Lake Tribune
First published 6 minutes ago Updated 5 minutes ago
Topaz Mountain • West Valley City police on Friday morning began a fifth day of searching for signs of Susan Cox Powell, sifting through dirt dug in an area where cadaver dogs have indicated there are human remains.
A forensics team has arrived here and is now looking for bone fragments or anything foreign to the area in the dirt. If any fragments are found, the state Medical Examiner will be called to the scene.
Once the sifting process is finished, the team will assist in continued excavation at the site, which Bureau of Land Management archaeologist Joelle McCarthy has determined is less than 10 years old based on soil disturbance. Investigators by Thursday evening had dug an area about 2 feet wide and 1 foot deep at the site but did not discover any bones before stopping for the day at 6 p.m.
“Hopefully we’ll start to find something [at the excavation site] the deeper we go,” said West Valley City Police Lt. Bill Merritt. “If we don’t find anything we are going to have to make a decision. But the dogs are continuing to indicate inside the hole. The leads us to believe that there is something down there.”
Cadaver dogs have been able to detect remains buried as much as 12 feet deep, said Merritt.
Meanwhile, detectives on all-terrain vehicles and cadaver dogs and handlers resumed their search. Susan Powell’s father, Chuck Cox, was expected to be at the site Friday afternoon.
West Valley City Police Chief Buzz Nielsen joined investigators at the search command post Thursday afternoon, saying he wanted to see the area and discuss detectives’ needs. He said the cadaver dogs alerted their handlers to a location with “upturned soil” Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re hoping it’s a really good lead for us,” Nielsen said. “There is some information we received lately that says they [Susan and Josh Powell] were out here.”