For Susan Cox Powell’s family, the discovery of a woman’s body of about the same age and size of the missing Utah woman offered neither comfort nor hope of closure.
“We have been through this process several times with other bodies and it’s more difficult each time,” family spokeswoman Shelby Gifford tells PEOPLE.
And, indeed, it was yet another false lead. Dental records showed that the body found Sept. 9 on a remote Wyoming ranch was not that of Powell, says Gifford.
The latest report that kept Powell’s family on an emotional roller-coaster was that the body “generally matches” her description: a woman in her 30s about 5 feet tall with short, brown hair, according to the Albany County (Wyo.) Sheriff’s Office.
As with the others, the family greeted the news with mixed feelings.
“On the one hand, we don’t want to get the call saying Susan’s body has been found,” adds Gifford about the mother of two who has been missing for nine months. “On the other hand, we feel so deeply for the families whose missing loved ones are identified. And if the body is not Susan, at the end of the day, we still don’t know where Susan is or what happened to her. It’s a no-win situation.”
Wyoming authorities had been in contact with Utah police, Lt. Michael Garcia tells PEOPLE. Aside from excluding Powell, the identity of the body has not been determined.
Police investigating Powell’s case have questioned her husband Joshua, whose alibi and level of cooperation has raised some eyebrows.
Joshua would only tell police he took his two young sons on a midnight camping trip on Dec. 6, the night his wife, 28, disappeared and has since refused to retrace his route.
For 24 hours, Powell’s whereabouts were unknown and law enforcement sources said a car he rented two days after Susan was reported missing was returned with several hundred miles on the odometer and without any GPS data.
Husband a ‘Person of Interest’
Susan’s family has alleged the couple’s nine-year relationship “was adversarial” and that at on at least one occasion Joshua became physically abusive, Cox family spokesperson Shelby Gifford said in June. His father and brother deny the allegations.
The couple also reportedly argued over their financial problems and friends urged her to get a divorce.
Joshua has hired a criminal attorney, who says his client has not hindered the investigation as police have suggested.
West Valley City police are still investigating Powell’s case and “working all new leads,” says Sgt. Mike Powell. “[Josh] is still a person of interest and that’s about all I can say. We’re still actively working on resolving the case.”
• With reporting by CATHY FREE and HOWARD BREUER