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Police: Body found in Wyoming not missing Utah woman

Sgt. Mike Powell with the West Valley City Police Department confirmed Tuesday afternoon that a body found in Wyoming is not that of Susan Powell, though he did not reveal how police came to that conclusion.
Image: Susan Powell
This picture made available by Hardman Photography shows Susan Powell, a 28-year-old mother of two young children, reported missing Dec. 7, 2009. A body found in Wyoming last week closely matches Powell's description.Amber Hardman / Hardman Photography via AP file
/ Source: staff and news service reports

A body found outside Laramie, Wyo., is not that of missing Utah mom Susan Cox Powell, Sgt. Mike Powell of the West Valley City Police Department confirmed Tuesday afternoon, KSL-TV reported Tuesday afternoon.

Sgt. Powell did not reveal how police came to that conclusion, KSL-TV said.

A sheepherder found the body 14 miles east of Laramie on Thursday.

Lt. Mike Garcia, with the Albany County, Wyo., sheriff's office, told the Deseret News that the body had not been identified but was a woman 30 to 40 years old, between 5-foot-2 and 5-foot-3, and had light brown hair. Powell, 28, is 5-foot-4 and has brown hair.

Police contacted Susan Powell's family in Puyallup, Wash., after the body's discovery, reported KING 5 television.

Powell's husband reported her missing Dec. 7, 2009, after he told police he took their two children out for a midnight camping trip. Josh Powell said when he returned, Susan Powell was not at their West Valley City, Utah, house.

Investigators named Josh Powell a person of interest in the case before he moved to Washington with the couple's two sons.

Investigators in Wyoming told the Deseret News the body they discovered had likely been there since sometime between fall 2009 and spring 2010. They earlier said they would use dental records to confirm the identity of the body, which Garcia expected would take at least a month to complete.

The Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation, the University of Wyoming and the forensics unit from Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, are all assisting in analyzing forensic evidence collected at the scene, the paper said.

Garcia said he could not "rule one way or the other" if the body was Susan Powell's.

The cause of death for the body found was also unknown Tuesday, the Deseret News said.

Shelby Gifford, Powell family spokesperson, told KING 5 that since December relatives have been contacted "seven to eight times" by police who have found unidentified bodies.

“There really is no good outcome when the phone rings,” said Gifford.

Gifford said loved ones are holding out hope that Susan is still alive.

Susan Powell's parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, live three miles from Josh Powell and their grandsons, who moved in with Josh Powell's parents shortly after Susan Powell disapperared.

The Coxes recently told The Salt Lake City Tribune that they have not been allowed to see the boys since April, when Josh Powell allowed the Coxes to meet his family at a Puyallup park where the boys were playing. They have only second-hand information that says the boys are healthy and the oldest, 5-year-old Charlie, has started kindergarten.