Hardman Photography/AP
Cathy Free
December 18, 2009 06:30 PM

Police investigating the disappearance of Susan Powell are asking Salt Lake City television news stations not to destroy footage of her husband, who has been called a “person of interest” in the case.

Detectives won’t elaborate on their unusual request, but they’re hoping that something in the footage might help explain what happened to Susan, 28, since she disappeared 11 days ago from her split-level home on a quiet cul-de-sac in the suburb of West Valley City.

Her husband, Joshua Powell, claims he took his 2- and 4-year-old sons on a midnight camping trip to Utah’s harsh and frigid west desert on the night his wife went missing, but he thus far refuses to retrace his route for authorities.

Police returned to the Powell home Thursday with a second search warrant, set up a barricade and spent more than three hours dusting for fingerprints before hauling away four large paper bags of evidence, along with several swabs and vials. One investigator was seen gathering potential evidence at the front window and door.

Detectives are also looking for cell phone numbers, says West Valley Assistant Police Chief Craig Black. Susan’s cell phone was found at the family’s home shortly after her disappearance, along with her purse and keys, according to family spokesperson Michael Gifford.

At a press conference held by Susan’s parents in Pullayup, Wash., on Thursday, Gifford said that Powell “would never leave her home without her cell phone, especially if her children were camping in the kind of conditions that they’d gone camping.”

West Valley City Police Chief Buzz Nielsen told reporters that although Joshua Powell is their only “person of interest” right now, they’re looking into other possible reasons for Susan’s disappearance. “If you focus your attention on any one area, you’re going to miss something else,” he said. “We’ve got a lot more to do.”

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