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Missing Utah mom's family prays for her return

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (AP) — The father of a missing Utah woman is doing what he can to keep attention focused on the search for her, saying investigators' focus on her husband appeared to be misplaced.

Susan Powell, the 28-year-old mother of two small children, was reported missing Monday under what police are calling suspicious circumstances.

Since than, police have increased the number of investigators assigned to the case to about 30. They have questioned her husband, Josh Powell, and searched a desert area where he said he took the couple's children, ages 2 and 4, camping early Monday morning in freezing conditions.

West Valley City Police Capt. Tom McLachlan says police haven't been able to verify Josh Powell's story because snow had covered the spot where he said he went.

Her father, Charles Cox, flew in from Puyallup, Wash., south of Seattle, to assist in the search. He spent Saturday morning granting dozens of interviews to media outlets around the country in an effort to keep his daughter's name and picture in the news.

While Cox and Josh Powell shared a brief hug before a prayer service began, Cox said the only conversation he's had with him since his daughter was reported missing was on Tuesday.

"I'm kind of concerned that all the focus is on him at the present. I mean he's told his story — believable or not — and I don't see him as capable of harming her," Cox said. "And the more time spent on him, the less time there is looking at other possibilities."

Meanwhile, a prayer service attended by about 100 people was held for her Saturday in West Valley City, and volunteers posted thousands of fliers with her image on it.

Josh Powell declined to answer questions from The Associated Press on Saturday.

"I can't say anything," he said following the prayer service.

Complicating the search for Susan Powell, McLachlan said police don't have a description of the clothing she was wearing when Josh Powell last saw her about 12:30 a.m. Monday.

Susan Powell's friend, Kiirsi Hellewell, described her as a "girly girl" who liked to get dressed up when she went out with friends and make blankets for friends at church.

She said that winter camping trip seemed out-of-character.

"They might go camping, but they would not do it in the winter, they would not do it in the middle of night and they wouldn't do it when they were expected at work the next day," she said.


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