March 4, 2010 – When Ed Smart’s daughter, Elizabeth, then 14, went missing, Smart was accused of being involved in her disappearance, much like Joshua “Josh” Powell. One difference that stands out is how each of these men reacted to their loved ones’ disappearance.
Unlike Josh who has presumably given up on Susan, Smart never gave up on his daughter. He never went silent. He cooperated with police until his name was cleared.
How Ed Smart reacted
On June 5, 2002, Elizabeth Smart was abducted at knifepoint from her bedroom. Her kidnapping was witnessed by her younger sister.
On June 7, her father, Ed Smart, collapsed from exhaustion and was released from the hospital in good condition.
On June 9, Smart was given a lie detector test while a candlelight vigil was held for his daughter.
Yet he persevered.
He worked tirelessly to keep his daughter’s name in the media. He organized searches and made sure his daughter was not forgotten by encouraging everyone to pass out ribbons and pins and to put up missing person’s fliers. While they did what they could to protect Elizabeth’s younger sister, she even got in on the ribbon campaign, adding small ribbons to pins with Elizabeth’s photo.
It was through Smart’s determination, and the help of hundreds of volunteers, to keep Elizabeth’s face and story in the media and in the public’s mind that eventually brought her safely home. Much like Susan’s friends and family are doing – keeping her face and story alive.
How Josh Powell reacted
In stark contrast Josh Powell has gone from a very talkative, opinionated person to someone who won’t talk to anyone. Not to his own sister, and not to police.
The statement he made to media just after Susan went missing has been largely criticized and largely disbelieved (click here).
We do not see Josh in front of cameras pleading for people to find his wife. Even if he has been warned against giving information to media or police, what would be wrong with pleading for help in finding Susan?
He has not cooperated with police to clear his name. He has evaded their questions and canceled interviews.
Family, friends, and the public in general have been perplexed with his decision to move from their family home in West Valley City, Utah, to live with his father Steven Powell aka Steven Chantrey in his hometown of Puyallup, Wash.
Most cannot comprehend moving away from Susan’s home so quickly after she disappeared, especially since her friends and family believed she was alive and was being held against her will.
The house has been leased to neighbors who belonged to Susan’s church ward.
Dr. Phil discusses case with Ed Smart
On Feb. 16, Dr. Phil invited Susan’s family to talk about her disappearance and her husband’s odd behavior. One of the guests on the show was Ed Smart.
Dr. Phil told Smart he was curious to hear what he did when he was a routine person of interest in the disappearance of his daughter. How did he behave in terms of cooperating with police compared to Josh’s complete lack of cooperation with police now?
Smart said, “It was all about finding Elizabeth, and it didn’t matter what the police wanted. We wanted to do whatever it would take to find her because nothing was more important to us.”
“That just doesn’t seem to be the case with Josh,” he said, “I mean, who would leave their wife that’s missing at Christmastime and just act like he didn’t care?”
Dr. Phil agreed and said it defies logic. He found it interesting that Josh hired the same attorney, Scott Williams, who represented one of Elizabeth Smart’s kidnappers, Wanda Barzee.
“Person of interest or whatever you want to call it,” Smart told Fox 13 News in December. “The family is the first avenue that law enforcement has to look at and clear. In our case we just said, ‘whatever you want, we’ll do it’ and move forward.”
Smart said he found it strange that Joshua Powell hasn’t appeared to be out pushing the search efforts to find his wife.
Within weeks of Susan’s disappearance Josh took his boys to Puyallup, Wash., presumably to see family for the holidays. According to friends and family, he never brought the boys back to their home in Utah. Instead, he returned and asked friends to help him pack up so he could move with his father, Steven Powell, in Puyallup.
“If my wife were the one missing, I certainly wouldn’t be leaving home. Maybe he has some reason for that, I don’t know,” Smart said.
Smart said, “We’ve worked with Chuck (Susan’s father) a number of times. And, you know, our prayers go out to him, and I know he’s held out faith, hope that she is still out there. But it certainly is difficult with Josh really not participating at all.”
Josh Powell, whose wife, Susan Powell, went missing in early December 2009, remains the only person of interest in a case police call a “missing person’s case with suspicious criminal overtones.”
Susan’s friends and family, along with police, have grown exceedingly frustrated at Josh’s lack of cooperation in the case. They are pleading that he come forward and tell police what he knows about the night Susan disappeared.
Dr. Phil Blog
Ed Smart talks to Susan Powell’s family daily – says he wouldn’t leave town if his wife were missing
Interview with Ed Smart: ‘Keep Susan Powell’s face out there, it’s what brought Elizabeth home’
Fox 13 News