OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Utah authorities have for at least six months investigated the disappearance of Susan Powell as a murder case. But without a body, they publicly held out hope that she would be found alive.
So what evidence did they have that the mother of two was dead? And was there anything to identify her killer?
There was the damp spot on the floor in their Utah home and a curious late-night camping trip described by her husband. There were also the recollections of their young son Braden about a camping trip and his mother being "in the trunk."
That could strike some as a clue, or the ramblings of a boy who was then just 2.
For authorities in Utah, none of it was enough to bring charges.
The man identified by investigators as a "person of interest" -- Powell's husband Josh -- had already moved from Utah to Washington state, taking with him their two young sons. On Sunday, he torched his house, killing himself and the boys.
Now, as authorities try to determine what led him to take such a drastic measure, many questions remain about the status of the investigation into Susan Powell's 2009 disappearance and how close they were to bringing charges.
A Washington state search warrant obtained through a public records request Tuesday showed that police were investigating three felonies in Utah: first-degree murder, kidnapping and obstructing a public servant.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill acknowledged for the first time that investigators believe Powell is likely dead, but he said in an interview that the case remains a missing persons probe for now.
Gill wouldn't discuss the evidence but said authorities didn't have enough information to file charges.
"I think when I talk about it as a missing persons case, that's because we haven't located the body of Susan Powell," Gill said. "Do we think that she may have met harm? Sure. I think that's been an ongoing assumption with law enforcement."
Investigators said Josh Powell withdrew $7,000 in cash from a bank the day before he killed himself and his two young sons in the house fire.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said detectives obtained Powell's bank records Monday, and on Tuesday they searched a storage unit he rented. It isn't clear what happened to the money.
Josh Powell claimed that on the night Susan Powell vanished, he took sons Charlie and Braden from their home in West Valley City, Utah, on a late-night camping trip. Authorities eventually searched the central Utah desert but found nothing.
Susan Powell's father said that when police went to the family home after she was reported missing, they found a wet spot in the house being dried by two fans. Police have not commented further on what they found.
When Utah authorities traveled to Washington following the blaze Sunday that killed 7-year-old Charlie and 5-year-old Braden, they didn't specifically address what the boys may have said.