A year after Susan Powell’s suspicious disappearance, her husband Josh is suggesting she ran off with another man.
“For many months, I waited, expecting her to come home any day,” Josh tells PEOPLE. “I don’t know how to feel at this point. I loved her, you know? I’m not angry at her.”
Josh, who was named a person of interest by West Valley City, Utah, police early in the investigation, says he last saw his wife the night of Dec. 6, 2009, before he drove off with their young sons into a winter storm for an overnight camping trip.
Josh’s Web site suggests Susan ran off with a Utah man named Steven Koecher, who disappeared around the same time.
“The Powells believe that finding Koecher may be the best lead to finding Susan,” says the Web site, which is written by Josh and his father, Steve Powell, out of their Puyallup, Wash. home.
Photos of Mom
Josh tells PEOPLE he is just trying to raise the couple’s sons, ages 5 and 3, and move on with his life. The boys have photos of their mom in their bedroom, and when they ask about her, “We just tell them she’s not here at the moment, that she loves them and misses them,” Powell says.
A spokeswoman for Susan’s family says the Koecher lead is a red herring that police investigated and dismissed early in the case.
“Steve and Josh Powell continue to make absurd allegations, and the Cox family feels badly that the Koecher family has now been affected by the Powells’ attempt to widen the swath of accusations,” says Shelby Gifford, referring to tirades on Josh’s Web site against family members who have openly suggested that Josh is responsible for Susan’s disappearance.
West Valley City police say they’re still investigating Susan’s disappearance and they’re not discussing details such as whether they investigated a connection to Koecher’s disappearance.
“We continue to ask the public to contact us with any information that might lead us to Susan Powell or help us understand more about the disappearance of Susan Powell,” says Sgt. Mike Powell.
To mark the anniversary of Susan’s disappearance on Dec. 7, 2009, her parents and other family and friends on Monday evening held a family story-time in Utah and wrapped gifts for needy families in Puyallup, Wash (where both families live). On Tuesday, they will be distributing new flyers in Utah, seeking information on Susan’s disappearance.