Entries in Susan Powell (37)


Susan Powell Case: Video of Missing Mom Surfaces as Case Is Closed

Lui Kit Wong-Pool/Getty Images(WEST VALLEY, Utah) -- A newly released, eerie home video made by Susan Powell, the Utah mother who disappeared in 2009 under mysterious circumstances, shows her recording her family's belongings just in case something ever happened.

"This is me July 29th, 2008," Powell says in the video. "[I am] covering all my bases, making sure that if something happens to me or my family, or all of us, that our assets are documented."

Powell also discusses the destruction of some of her possessions.

"And I had necklaces too, wherever those are [inaudible] got in a rage, as you can see, and broke this, there's studs and pearls and opals in there, broke those and threw all my DVDs and made a mess because he was angry at me about a year or two back," she said in the video.

The seemingly happy mother turned fearful wife ends her video on an optimistic note.

"Hope everything works out and we're all happy and live happily ever after as much as that's possible," she said, rolling her eyes.

Powell also left a hand-written will in a safety deposit box. In the will she wrote that the document wasn't to be seen by her husband.

"If I die, it may not be an accident, even if it looks like one," she wrote.

This video, will and a mountain of personal notes and other evidence -- the sum of an entire life -- have been reduced to a tiny thumb drive handed out by police on Monday.

Investigators have now declared that the mystifying case of what happened to Susan Powell is officially closed.

"No stone has been left unturned," Mike Powell of the West Valley Deputy Chief said this week.

From Susan's 2009 disappearance, to repeated searches, to the horrific murder suicide of her husband and two children, police have never wavered from the belief that Josh Powell was involved, even if they could never prove it in a court of law.

Powell, 28, was last seen in December 2009 at the Utah home she shared with her husband and their two young sons. Josh Powell told authorities that he had decided take an impromptu midnight camping trip with the boys -- in the midst of a winter storm -- the night his wife vanished. Powell says that he returned home to find his wife gone and has claimed that his wife left on her own. Josh Powell was named a "person of interest" in the investigation into his wife's disappearance, but was never charged.

On Feb. 5, 2012, during a supervised visit with his boys, Josh Powell locked a Child Protective Services worker out of the house he was then renting, attacked the boys with a hatchet and set off an explosion that killed himself and his two sons.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


‘Charlie’s Dinosaur’ Honors Memory of Murdered Powell Boys

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The memory of Charlie and Braden Powell is being carried on by a group of detectives who found a sweet picture that made them smile following the deaths of the two boys.

Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, were murdered on Feb. 5, 2012 by their father, Josh Powell, in a home explosion that killed all three. Powell, the only person of interest in the disappearance of his wife, Susan, had lost custody of the two boys. He killed them when they arrived at his home for what was supposed to be a supervised visit.

While cleaning out Powell’s storage unit, detectives unraveled a white piece of paper and saw a picture of a dinosaur. Above it, in red marker, it said “Charlie.”

“Having gone through that investigation, and having been very affected by it, a small group of us decided to get together,” Lynette Anderson, a Pierce County, Wash., detective, told ABC News’ Seattle affiliate KOMO-TV.

Charlie’s Dinosaur, a non-profit to help foster children, was hatched.

The group takes donations of toiletries, books, toys and other items, fills backpacks and distributes them to foster children. They’re also hoping to provide school supplies to disadvantaged or at-risk children.

“Our goal is to provide a backpack of personal items for these children to help them gain a sense of comfort and security in owning their own clothing and hygiene supplies,” said the group on the Charlie’s Dinosaur Facebook page.

Anderson said the group has a goal of distributing a hundred backpacks each month.

Police had called Josh Powell a person of interest in the disappearance of his wife, who he claimed went missing from their Utah home after he and his then 2- and 4-year-old sons went on a midnight camping trip in December 2009.

He was never arrested or charged, but he lost custody of his sons after his father, Steven Powell, was arrested in September and charged with 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of child pornography. The pornographic images were kept in the home the two men shared with Josh and Susan Powell’s boys.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Steven Powell Found Guilty of Voyeurism Charges

ABC News(TACOMA, Wash.) -- Steven Powell, the father-in-law of missing woman Susan Powell, was found guilty of voyeurism in a Washington court Wednesday for taking inappropriate images of neighborhood girls using the bathroom and showering.

The Pierce County, Wash., jury found Powell guilty of all 14 counts of voyeurism after only six and a half hours of deliberations.

He could be sentenced to nearly five years on each of the 14 counts. If he got the maximum, he could go to prison for 70 years. Prosecutors said they will seek an "exceptional" sentence for Powell.

Powell, 67, was arrested in November 2011 after Utah police searched the home he shared with his son, Josh, and grandchildren, as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Josh's wife, Susan Cox Powell.

Josh was the only named person of interest in the investigation, sparking a two-year war of the words between Josh and his father, Steven, and Susan's parents and the police that investigated the case.

Steven and Josh publicly threatened to post Susan's girlhood diaries to a website, sparking the police raid on the house in September 2011 to obtain the diaries. The search yielded dozens of computer disks that contained images of women and young girls that focused on their private parts, according to prosecutors.

Following Steven Powell's arrest, Josh Powell lost custody of his two sons and later killed the boys and himself in a fiery explosion at his home during a supervised visit.

During the trial, the jury saw images of two neighborhood girls, ages 8 and 10, that Powell was alleged to have taken from his bedroom window, which faced the bathroom of the girls' home in back of his home. They were also shown pictures of Powell engaged in sexual activity, and read a journal entry in which Powell disclosed his interest in taking pictures of women.

Powell wrote that he enjoyed "taking video shots of pretty girls in shorts and skirts of every age," but enjoyed images of Susan Powell the most.

Images of Susan Powell were also found on Steven Powell's computer disks, but they were not admitted into evidence because the charges focused on the invasion of privacy of the two neighborhood girls.

Investigators working on the Susan Powell case asked to talk to Steven Powell about the case following Josh's death, but he has denied those requests.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Videos Show Susan Powell with Father-in-Law Before Disappearance

Courtesy of the Powell Family(NEW YORK) -- Susan Cox Powell was pleasant and warm toward her father-in-law Steven Powell before she disappeared in 2009, in contrast to allegations that she was very wary of him, according to a new website featuring home videos and songs of the Powell family.

The website, titled West Valley and Pierce County Malfeasance, was released on Tuesday exclusively to ABC News by Steven Powell's daughter, Alina Powell.

It was unveiled on the same day that her father's trial on voyeurism charges went to the jury.  Steven Powell is accused of filming and photographing two girls, ages 8 and 10, as they used the bathroom in the home behind Steven's house.

The site aims to show the Powells' side of a two-and-a-half year feud with Susan's parents, as well as between the Powells and the police departments that investigated Susan's disappearance.

Alina Powell said that the videos on the new website won't affect the outcome of her father's case, but are intended to begin offering another side of the Susan Powell story to those who are interested.

"The trial will conclude [today] one way or another," she said.  "I waited to put things out so as not to interfere with dad's case, but I've long been tired of seeing people say things they don't really know anything about.  (The website) is just kind of to start putting the truth and balance into this stuff."

Steven Powell was arrested in 2011 on charges of voyeurism and child pornography after a police search of his home yielded dozens of computer disks with images of naked women and girls. 

His son, Josh Powell, who was the only named person of interest in Susan's disappearance, later killed himself and his two sons in a fiery home explosion.  The videos released on Tuesday show a rare glimpse of the boys, who were kept out of the public eye while they were alive, laughing and playing with their parents.

Among the images found in Steven Powell's home were voyeuristic pictures of Susan that he had allegedly taken without her knowledge, although those pictures are not included in the charges.  Steve Powell claimed he had a flirtatious relationship before she disappeared.

Members of Susan's family and friends, as well as an estranged daughter of Steven Powell, have said that Susan was "repulsed" by her father-in-law and wanted Josh to sever ties with him.

The Powells' new website, however, claims that Susan was in fact comfortable around Steven, and shows home videos of the family together to prove it.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Steven Powell's Trial Haunted by Spectre of Missing Daughter-in-Law

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(TACOMA, Wash.) -- Defense attorneys opened the voyeurism trial of Steven Powell on Wednesday by stating it was "not about Susan Powell," and the evidence is not expected to shed light about what really happened to his daughter-in-law who disappeared in 2009.

Jurors in the Washington court were shown dozens of images that Powell, 62, allegedly took from his bedroom window of his young female neighbors, ages 10 and 8, as they undressed, bathed and used the bathroom.

They were also shown images Powell took of himself during a sexual act, and journal entries where Powell details feeling sexually "out of control," and focusing his "lust" on his daughter-in-law, Susan.

Defense attorneys for Powell were the first to mention Susan, who disappeared on Dec. 6, 2009.  Steven's son, Josh, was the only named person of interest in her disappearance, but he was never arrested or charged.

The investigation came to a violent halt when Josh Powell blew himself up along with his two young sons last February.

Investigators searching for clues into Susan Powell's disappearance searched the home Josh and Steven Powell shared in 2011 when they came across the computer disks and hard drives containing the images of the young neighborhood girls.  Steven Powell was then charged.

"You have heard about Josh Powell, you have heard about Susan Powell.  This case is not about them," said Mark Quigley, Powell's defense attorney.  "We will be challenging every piece of evidence the state puts on."

Susan Powell's parents and sister are attending the trial, and have said they hope it sheds light on what happened to Susan.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Steven Powell Loses Bid to Toss Child Porn Evidence

Josh Powell. (KOMO/ABC News)(WASHINGTON) -- A bid by Steven Powell to have evidence of child pornography and voyeurism dropped was denied Tuesday by a Washington court.

The father of Josh Powell and father-in-law of missing Utah mom Susan Cox Powell appeared in court, sitting just feet away from Susan Powell’s parents, seeking to have the evidence against him ruled inadmissible. He argued that the 2011 search of his home, in which investigators seized dozens of video tapes and CDs containing thousands of images of naked young girls and women, was an illegal search.

Judge Ronald Culpepper, however, disagreed. He ruled that police rightfully obtained a warrant to enter the home Steven and Josh shared in order to take into police custody seven of Susan Cox’s journals, which Steven had shown on national television and said were key to the investigation.

Police took the journals along with Steven Powell’s numerous digital storage devices, where they found the child porn images. Many of the images were taken of Powell’s neighbors, two young girls whom he filmed while they bathed and used the bathroom, according to court documents. There were also images of naked women with Susan’s face transposed onto them.

Following the search and Steven’s arrest, Josh Powell lost custody of his two sons, who had been living with the Powell men since Susan Cox’s disappearance. In February, Josh Powell killed himself and the boys in a fiery explosion just days after he was ordered to undergo a psychosexual evaluation in order to regain custody.

Steven Powell has pleaded not guilty to the voyeurism and child porn charges.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Steven Powell Challenges Child Porn Evidence

Kevin Horan/Stone(SEATTLE) -- The father-in-law of missing Utah mom Susan Cox Powell could be released from jail this week if a Washington judge throws out his charges of voyeurism and child pornography.

Steven Powell, 67, was arrested in 2011 after police found thousands of images of naked young girls and women, including his daughter-in-law, while searching the home he shared with his son, Josh Powell.

The police were searching the home for clues in the case of Susan Powell's 2009 disappearance, in which Josh Powell was the only person of interest. Investigators told the judge who signed the search warrant that they were seeking handwritten journals Susan Powell kept while alive.

During the search, police seized dozens of video tapes, VHS tapes and CDs belonging to Steven Powell, leading to Steven Powell's arrest and the removal of Josh Powell's two sons from his custody because they shared a home with Steven Powell.

Josh Powell later killed himself and the two boys in a fiery explosion after being asked to undergo a "psychosexual" evaluation in order to regain custody of the children.

Monday, standing just a few feet away from Susan Cox Powell's parents, Steven Powell and his attorney Mark Quigley asked Judge Ronald Culpepper to rule that there was no probable cause for authorities to search the Powell home and no legal reason to seize the disks that contained the alleged child porn images. If the judge agrees, Powell could be released from jail this week.

"Their investigation was stale. The police were getting frustrated, and they needed a reason to enter the Powell residence for another search," Quigley said Monday.

The prosecution, however, told Culpepper that the search of the Powell home was done lawfully and was important to the investigation.

Police obtained the search warrant after seeing Steven Powell on national television "bragging" about having seven journals that Susan Cox Powell kept while she was alive, prosecutor Grant Blinn said Monday. Steven Powell said that journals were integral to the investigation, but refused to turn them over to police, Blinn said.

Police were left with only one choice: to search the Powell home to obtain the journals.

"The only reason we're here today at all is because Mr. Powell went on national television bragging that he had the journals and would not hand them over, but were important to investigation and is now fighting the search warrant to get the journals," Blinn said.

Powell has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The investigation, by the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, determined that two of the young girls Powell is said to have covertly taped lived next door, and that his bedroom window faced the side of the victims' residence and the line of sight matches the camera angle seen in the videos.

"In a majority of the images the photographer focuses on the intimate parts of females," the document said.

The judge could rule as early as Tuesday on the legality of the search, and Powell could be released from jail shortly after.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Josh Powell Murder-Suicide: 911 Dispatcher Reprimanded

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- The dispatcher who took the 911 call before Josh Powell set off an explosion that killed himself and his two sons in February has been reprimanded.

David Lovrak has been identified as the dispatcher who was handed the letter of reprimand for his handling of the Feb. 5 call from social worker Elizabeth Griffin-Hall after she dropped off the children at Powell's home.

Griffin-Hall called 911 and told the dispatcher that she had brought two children to the residence and Powell took the children inside and shut the door, leaving Griffin-Hall locked out.

Lovrak was reprimanded for allowing 22 minutes to pass before first responders arrived at the scene.

When asked by Griffin-Hall how long it would take for help to arrive, Lovrak responded "I don't know ma'am, they have to respond to emergencies -- life threatening situations first," according to the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune.

Signed by the Law Enforcement Support Agency's Assistant Director, Diana Lock, the letter states that when Griffin-Hall told the dispatcher that she smelled gas, Lovrak assumed the smell was from the fumes coming from Griffin-Hall's vehicle.

"The public trust has been shaken," the letter, posted on the Salt Lake Tribune's website, went on to state, adding that Lovrak violated four operations manual policies in his handling of the call.

Josh Powell was the husband of Susan Powell, who went missing in December 2009. Within hours of her disappearance, police in West Valley City, Utah, honed in on Powell as a lead suspect. When they failed to make an arrest, Powell eventually moved to Washington state, along with the couple’s two children, to be with his family.

Powell killed the couple’s two children and took his own life in February when he set off an explosion in his Graham, Wash., rental home. The explosion came moments after the Child Protective Services worker had dropped off Powell’s sons, Braden, 5, and Charles, 7, for a supervised visit.

Lovrak could have handled the call better, Lock writes in the letter, going on to say, "you have undergone local and national scrutiny, have admitted your errors and have identified the ways you will correct and improve your call handling in the future."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Josh Powell Friend Says He Bragged of Knowing How to Dump a Body

KOMO/ABC News(SALT LAKE CITY) -- The friend to whom Josh Powell once bragged that he knew “how to kill someone, dispose of a body and not get caught,” according to recently revealed court documents, said it was “scary that I even had that conversation with him.”

Powell boasted at a 2008 Christmas party he attended with now-missing wife Susan that he knew how to commit the perfect crime, thanks to his obsession with television crime shows, the friend told ABC News affiliate KTVX in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The TV report did not name the friend, but ABC News has identified him as Scott Hardman.

“He was basically telling me about how the best way to dispose of a body would be down a mineshaft like a vertical one,” Hardman said in the KTVX interview.  “It would be the best way of disposing one because they’re so unstable.”

Susan Powell went missing in December 2009.  Within hours of her disappearance, police in West Valley City, Utah, honed in on Powell as a lead suspect.  When they failed to make an arrest, Powell eventually moved to Washington state, along with the couple’s two children, to be with his family.

Powell killed the couple’s two children and took his own life in February when he set off an explosion in his Graham, Wash., rental home.  The explosion came moments after a Child Protective Services worker had dropped off Powell’s sons, Braden, 5, and Charles, 7, for a supervised visit.

When Susan Powell went missing, Hardman reported the conversation to police, who then embarked on an ultimately fruitless search of abandoned mines outside of Ely, Nev.

“It was like a year later,” Hardman said of his tip to the police.  “All of a sudden Susan was missing, it was like, ‘Whoa, are you kidding me?  Did we really have this conversation a year ago?’ and I had no idea.”

Details of Hardman’s conversation with Powell were included in a batch of newly released court documents related to Susan Powell’s disappearance that show police had “everything but a body” to build a case against her husband.

The documents, released on March 30, pertained to a case against Josh Powell’s father, Steven, whom he had moved back to Washington from Utah to live with after his wife’s disappearance.  He moved out of his father’s house after the older man was arrested and charged in September with voyeurism and child pornography.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Susan Powell's Sister Says Police Responsible for Boys' Deaths

ABC News(WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah) -- Newly unsealed court documents have convinced Denise Cox, the sister of Susan Powell, that police could have prevented the death of Susan's two children.

Susan Powell went missing in 2009. Within hours of her disappearance, police in West Valley City, Utah, honed in on Susan's husband Josh Powell as a lead suspect. When they failed to make an arrest, Powell eventually moved to Washington State along with the couple's two children to be with his family.

This February, Powell murdered the couple's two children and took his own life when he had the children on what was supposed to be a supervised visit.

However, the documents unsealed in Pierce County, Wash., Friday, reveal police in Utah had compiled far more evidence on Powell's involvement in his wife's possible murder than ever previously known.

Cox blames police for not acting to protect the children.

"Look what it did -- it killed my nephews, by not putting (Josh Powell) behind bars when he should have been," Cox told ABC News. "They didn't act on anything that they should've acted on."

The documents reveal that police found Susan Powell's blood "on the tile floor next to the carpet adjacent to the sofa" in the couple's home.

When police initially encountered the sofa soon after Susan's disappearance, "two fans were set up and blowing" onto it and the documents say it "appeared to have just been cleaned."

Cox says she is also deeply disturbed by something else she says police did not tell the family about: A folded letter they discovered inside Susan's safety deposit box.

The letter had been "stapled around the edges addressed to her family and friends specifically asking that it not be shown or given to her husband Joshua Powell, writing that she did not trust him," according to the court documents.

Chillingly, the documents say that letter also said that if Susan Powell dies "it may not be an accident, even if it looks like one."

Cox says police should have used this type of evidence to make sure the Powell children were never left alone again with Josh Powell. She also feels the family should have been told about the letter, as it was addressed to them.

"They were foolish in keeping it from us," Cox said. "All the signs were there and the police didn't act on it."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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