ECHOES OF LACI PETERSON

Published on: January 21, 2010
ECHOES OF LACI PETERSON

Case of Utah missing mom eerily similar to infamous Laci Peterson murder!

Detectives hunting missing Utah mom Susan Powell have discovered shocking similarities between the case and that of the infamous Laci Peterson murder, The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively.

Both women were around the same age and disappeared during the same time of year. Susan, 28, vanished on Dec. 6. Laci, who was 27 and eight months pregnant, made worldwide headlines when she disappeared from her home in Modesto, Calif., on Christmas Eve 2002.

"Both cases feature husbands with unlikely alibis, who quickly tried to sell their homes and move far away while the search for their wives was still going on," former Washington, D.C., homicide detective Rod Wheeler told The ENQUIRER.

"Detectives in both cases have had to ask themselves: Did they know their wives were never coming back?"

Laci Peterson's husband, Scott, claimed that Laci was abducted while he was spending Christmas Eve fishing in cold, blustery San Francisco Bay - where her body washed up three months later.

Susan's husband Josh, 33, told police he left his wife sleeping to go camping after midnight in a snowstorm with their two young boys, Charlie, 4, and 2-year-old Braden. When he returned the following day he said she was missing.

Josh, who's been named a "person of interest" by police, refused to tell them exactly where in the snowy wilderness he and the boys camped.

Then, on Jan. 9, with Susan gone for just a month, he shocked friends by moving the family belongings out of their home in West Valley City, Utah, planning to put the house up for sale - and moving 900 miles to live with his father in Puyallup, Wash.

"Josh Powell may be innocent - but to detectives on the case it sure looks like he's taking lessons from Scott Peterson," said Wheeler, who's now a prominent private investigator and has studied both cases.

"Scott actually sold Laci's car a month or so after she disappeared and traded it in for a new truck for himself.

"Then he inquired about selling their house and furniture - and even getting rid of the nursery furniture Laci had bought for their unborn son Conner.

"And by the time Laci's body was found he had moved to be with his parents in San Diego."

Scott Peterson was found guilty of murdering Laci and Conner and sentenced to death. He's now on death row at San Quentin prison.

Wheeler was intrigued when he learned that Josh Powell had moved with his children to his father's home.

"When a man has committed a crime against his wife, he often goes home to his parents," he said.

"Perhaps psychologically they feel safe with their mothers and fathers."