Cadaver dogs have merely picked up a scent, authorities say

By Liz Raftery
September 16, 2011 08:25 AM
Credit: Hardman Photography/AP

While cadaver dogs searching a site in the Utah desert for clues in the Susan Powell case turned up a scent of what police said was “human decomposition,” no actual remains have been found, contrary to some premature reports earlier this week.

“The dogs are still smelling something, but we have not come across bones,” Police Lieutenant Bill Merritt told the Salt Lake Tribune Thursday night. “We have not come across clothing.”

The excavation of what is being described as “a grave” was scheduled to resume Friday morning. Susan Powell’s father, Chuck Cox, is expected to be brought to the site during the day.

The area police are searching is about 30 miles from a campground where Susan Powell’s husband, Joshua Powell, told authorities he took their two sons camping the night she disappeared.

Joshua Powell is the only person of interest in the case, police have said. The husband is no longer cooperating with police.

Cadaver dogs are trained to alert authorities to remains buried up to 12 feet, and the ones in Utah are giving a “strong indication” that the site does contain human remains, according to Merritt – who also said that the chances the remains are Susan Powell’s are “50-50,” the Today show reports.