Family marks 10 years since disappearance of Susan Powell: 'Time really doesn't heal it'

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- Friday marks 10 years since Susan Powell, a Washington native, went missing under suspicious circumstances in Utah. The case has continued to captivate and devastate the nation.

In 2012, Susan's husband Josh Powell killed himself and the two young sons he shared with Susan in Pierce County.  At the time of the horrifying murders and suicide, Powell was under investigation for the murder of his wife.

Loved ones gathered to remember Susan and her two little boys Friday at Woodbine Cemetery in Puyallup.

When Powell vanished 10 years ago, her family didn't know the significance of Dec. 6 for so many who have lost a child.  It is a day that people all over the world gather at statues called Christmas Box Angels to remember children who have passed.

Though the Christmas Box Angel in Puyallup is dedicated to Susan and her sons, her family hopes anyone who's lost a child can find some peace there.

Much has changed since the first vigil was held for Susan; so much more agony, loss and tragedy. But a father's mission to bring his daughter home has stayed the same.

"We still hold out hope that we might find her," Susan's father Chuck Cox said. "We're still looking for her."

Life likely didn't seem like it could get much darker after losing his grandsons Charlie and Braden, but Chuck and the rest of the Cox family have used their unimaginable pain to connect with other families.

"To make some sense of my tragedy, of the deaths of my grandsons and my daughter being missing, we need to support each other," Cox said. "If the good people get together and help each other, then I think that's a great legacy for all of them."

While searching for Susan over the last decade, the Cox family has consistently kept her legacy alive by sharing her story to help others.

"Myself, I was in a horrible, abusive relationship and I got out in time. And no matter how much I begged Susan, she wouldn't do it," said Susan's sister Denise Ernest. "And she had the belief if she's good, everything will go as planned and he'll change. And I'm hoping with people seeing what happened to her, that's not always the case. And you need to recognize the red flags. You need to know when to get out."

Over the years many have wondered what secrets Josh Powell took to his grave, but Susan's family refuses to let him steal their hope of finding her.  Until they can lay her to rest with her children, their fight isn't over.

"Time really doesn't heal it. It helps you ease into accepting it more, but you're never truly over someone passed, and even worse a person missing," Denise said. "You don't know where they are, and the not knowing is even harder than knowing where she is."

Susan's family holds a vigil at the cemetery every year on Dec. 6, and they hope that others who have lost loved ones will join them.