DELTA -- A search effort nearly 100 officers-strong resumed across central Utah's expansive mountain desert Tuesday in hopes of finding any sign of a mother of two missing since 2009.
West Valley City police Lt. Bill Merritt said teams will cover the rugged, rocky terrain near Topaz Mountain in Juab County Tuesday on foot, horseback, ATV and by helicopter. A team of dogs trained to detect the scent of a decomposing human body will also be on hand, police Sgt. Mike Powell said.
"We'll continue pushing today and see what we can find," Mike Powell said.
Topaz Mountain is a popular rock-hounding spot about 135 miles southwest of West Valley City, where Susan Powell was last seen by her family on Dec. 7, 2009. She was reported missing after she failed to show up for her job as a stockbroker.
Her husband, Josh Powell, has been named the only person of interest in the case, but he's never been arrested or charged.
Police are searching the area in part because it's about 30 miles south of Simpson Spring, a Pony Express Trail campground where Josh Powell told police he took the couple's young children on a winter camping trip in the hours before his wife disappeared. The Powell's 4-year-old son has confirmed the trip to police.
West Valley City police began a search of the region eight days ago. In that time, Merritt estimates that searchers have covered more than 50 square miles of the sagebrush-covered desert that is dotted with small, shiny pieces of topaz.
Since Saturday, crews from five county sheriff's offices have joined the search and a sixth was scheduled to be added on Tuesday, said Mike Powell, who is not related to the Powell family.
The assistance has been a boon to the search, Merritt said.
"If we had just kept to our group of 10, we'd probably be out here for about three weeks," he said late Monday. "But with all the help, what we've been able to do has been really amazing."
Police haven't said specifically what they are looking for but have recovered numerous items, including blankets and clothing, all of which is being documented and removed for a closer look, Mike Powell said.
"Anything we find is being documented, photographed in place and the GPS coordinates are being marked so that we have that information in case we need to go back," he said.
Last week, cadaver dogs led investigators to what appeared to be a shallow grave, but after two days of excavation, police said they had found only a collection of charred wood chips. About 100 pieces of wood have been removed from the site for examination by a forensic anthropologist.