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Originally published Friday, April 6, 2012 at 2:17 PM

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Co-worker says Powell described snowy camping trip

One of Steve Powell's former co-workers says he discussed going on a snowy camping trip to Utah around the time his daughter-in-law disappeared.

Associated Press

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OLYMPIA, Wash. —

One of Steve Powell's former co-workers says he discussed going on a snowy camping trip to Utah around the time his daughter-in-law disappeared.

Jennifer Silva said in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday that Powell described having a cold camping excursion with his son, Josh, and two grandchildren. Steve Powell said they sat around a campfire, roasted marshmallows and threw snowballs.

Silva says he never mentioned daughter-in-law Susan Powell in those conversations.

Silva says she does not recall the specific dates of her conversations but that Steve Powell talked about going on the camping trip around Thanksgiving 2009. She saw him again a week or two later.

Silva has passed along her recollections to Utah investigators, who told her in February that they were looking into it.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A co-worker of Steve Powell says the father-in-law of Susan Powell planned to travel to Utah for a camping trip shortly before she disappeared in 2009, according to an attorney.

Lawyer Anne Bremner said Thursday she has spoken to the co-worker in recent days and reviewed the statement the colleague sent to authorities. In the woman's account, she says Steve Powell talked about leaving around Thanksgiving 2009 for a camping trip in Utah with his son, Josh Powell.

The co-worker thought the camping trip was odd. She saw Powell a week or two later and he reported that the trip was cold but fun.

Susan Powell was last seen on December 6 of that year. Josh Powell had said that he took a late-night camping trip in Utah with his two boys on the night Susan Powell disappeared.

While authorities never named a suspect in the case, they had consistently called Josh Powell a "person of interest." Utah's West Valley City police Chief Thayle "Buzz" Nielsen has said Steve Powell was "absolutely" being considered as an accomplice in Susan Powell's disappearance.

Josh Powell killed himself and the couple's two young children in a fiery home inferno earlier this year.

Bremner, who represents Susan Powell's parents Chuck and Judy Cox, said she herself had never really believed Steve Powell was involved in Susan Powell's disappearance, but is now reassessing her perceptions of the case.

"Chuck has always thought that Steve was very involved," Bremner said. "This just sort of confirmed that for him."

An attorney for Steve Powell did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The co-worker does not want to be named, Bremner said. She said she sent the information to authorities in Washington's Pierce County, asking them to forward the details to Utah investigators. The Associated Press was able to review her email correspondence and verify that she did work with Steve Powell while he was still at the Department of Corrections and is among staff members copied on work emails with Powell.

Police in West Valley City, Utah, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Steve Powell called in sick from his job on December 8 and 9 of that year. He did appear to remain engaged at work, continuing to send emails to colleagues around that time, according to documents obtained by AP.

Authorities have said they want to talk with Steve Powell to see what he might know. He's currently in jail on charges of voyeurism.

Utah investigators described in documents released last week that Steven Powell had an apparent obsession with his daughter-in-law. A locked cabinet in Steve Powell's bedroom contained multiple images of Susan Powell, including some of her in her underwear. Other images showed nude female bodies with Susan Powell's face copied onto them.

Another image showed Steven Powell masturbating to an image of Susan Powell.

Susan Powell wrote in her personal journals that she did not want Steven Powell involved in her life and wished that Josh Powell would sever ties with him. She described Steven Powell as a pedophile.

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Johnson reported from Seattle.

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Mike Baker can be reached at https://www.facebook.com/mikebakerap

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