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Originally published Monday, December 14, 2009 at 11:35 AM

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Husband of missing Utah woman retains attorney

The husband of a 28-year-old woman who went missing a week ago without taking her purse or cell phone has retained an attorney.

Associated Press Writer

SALT LAKE CITY —

The husband of a 28-year-old woman who went missing a week ago without taking her purse or cell phone has retained an attorney.

Well-known Salt Lake City defense attorney Scott Williams said Monday he has been retained by Josh Powell, whose wife Susan Powell was reported missing Dec. 7.

Williams often represents high-profile defendants in criminal cases. Among his recent clients are Wanda Eileen Barzee, who has pleaded guilty to federal charges in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping, and Christopher Jeppson, one of two men charged in the 1995 murder of Utah County teenager Kiplyn Davis.

Williams declined to say when he was retained and when Powell was going to be questioned again.

Josh Powell told police last week that he left his wife and took his boys, ages 2 and 4, on a camping trip around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 7 in subfreezing temperatures.

Authorities were notified the family was missing when neither Susan nor Josh reported to work and their children were not dropped off at daycare.

Police said Josh Powell told them that he and his children slept in a van and returned home about 5 p.m.

Police said they haven't been able to verify the camping trip because snow had covered the site - Simpson Springs on the historic Pony Express Trail in Utah's west desert.

West Valley City Police Capt. Tom McLachlan said the Powell home was locked when police arrived and they broke in, fearing the family had suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning. They found no signs of forced entry.

Susan Powell's father, Charles Cox, said police found a wet spot in the house being dried by two fans when they entered. McLachlan declined to comment.

McLachlan said 30 detectives have been working on the case, fielding dozens of tips and leads.

"Some of them appear to be relatively informative, and some of them are pretty wild," he said.

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