Shawn Powell, 32, was an artist and a woodcarver. He sometimes made props for local theatre productions. He was studying architecture. Powell married his high school sweetheart in 1989, joined the army and was stationed mainly in Germany for his four years. He remained an Army reservist.
The Powells had one five-year-old boy. In the summer of 2010, Shawn Powell took several camping trips with his son, teaching him how to pitch a tent and start a campfire. Another father-son trip was planned for later that September. At least as recently as the 10th anniversary, no trace of Shawn has ever been found that his parents might bury.