PUYALLUP, Washington (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) — The long-awaited court battle over who will gain temporary physical custody of missing Utah mom, Susan Cox Powell’s children, Charlie, 6, and Braden, 4, began Tuesday.
The hearing, originally scheduled for Wednesday, was bumped up a day.
Susan’s children had been living in their grandfather, Steve Powell’s home in Puyallup since weeks after their mother disappeared in early December 2009.
They were removed from the home late Thursday evening when Steve was arrested on one count of possessing an image of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and on 14 counts of voyeurism against young girls and women. The children were placed in child protective custody.
Some of Susan’s supporters voiced their strong support for Susan’s father, Chuck Cox, who has been working to gain custody of his grandchildren.
Chuck has been praised for his ability to remain calm when he, his daughter, and family were being persecuted by the Powells. Read: Susan Cox Powell’s father, Chuck Cox, shows patience and perseverance.
Assistant Attorney General John Long told the judge during Tuesday’s hearing that there are allegations the children’s father, Josh Powell, is also being investigated.
Ed Troyer, spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, told The Salt Lake Tribune Monday that one focus is whether anyone else who lived in Steve Powell’s home in the Country Hollow subdivision “knew about or looked at those photos.”
“We haven’t ruled anybody else in or out,” Troyer said. That includes Josh Powell, who remains the only person of interest is Susan’s disappearance.
Police say since their investigation into Susan’s disappearance began in early December 2009 they’ve been disappointed in the lack of cooperation they’ve received from Josh.
Investigators are reviewing whether sexually explicit images or videos were transmitted from computers taken from the Powell home. If that’s the case, additional charges such as trafficking could be brought against Steve Powell and the receiving parties.
“You sure hope that is not going to happen, but we’ll see,” Troyer said.
Josh Powell told the family court judge Tuesday that he denies any involvement or knowledge of Steven Powell’s alleged child pornography and voyeurism issues.
Josh told the judge Tuesday, “I had no knowledge of any wrongdoing or any indication that there could be wrongdoing on my father’s part nor did anyone else in the home.”
How could he not have known?
In August Sandy Crain-Anderson, a former friend of Steve’s, came forward sharing what she knew about Steve Powell’s past and about his sick obsession with his daughter-in-law, Susan.
The information she shared was enough to raise red flags to the public and to police.
Sandy said Steve was obsessed and in love with Susan and that he knew it was a sick obsession. Sandy said Steve held onto Susan’s very sacred Mormon undergarments that he stole from a laundry hamper years ago.
Steve, she said, had photographs of Susan and a porn stash in a cabinet, along with Susan’s private teenage journals that he and Josh threatened to post online.
Shouldn’t the information, that was made public in mid-August, have raised red flags for Josh, who was living in Steve’s house with his children?
Shouldn’t his father’s public admittance to the allegations made by Sandy that he was in lust and in love with Susan – Charlie and Braden’s mother – have raised red flags for Josh?
Shouldnt’ the fact Steve told media that police took his own personal journals, and that information within those pages would be “embarrasing” raise some sort of red flags for Josh that his father might be involved in deviant sexual behavior?
Over the past nearly 22 months since Susan vanished her friends and family have made it very clear that they were concerned for the children’s wellbeing while living in Steve’s home.
They repeatedly said Susan never wanted to be around Steve and that she moved from her hometown and her family not long after Josh and she were married just to get away from Steve.
Susan’s friends and family have repeatedly said they knew Susan did not want her children around Steve, and that she certainly would not have wanted them living in his home.
This is not new information, it’s been posted online for many months. Based on Josh and Steve’s reactions it is clear Josh would have been privy to what was posted online.
Instead of thinking about what people were saying, and considering that Susan may have had good reasons for her concerns about her children living in Steve’s home, it appears Josh ignored the warnings and instead chose to continue discrediting his wife alongside his father.
Sandy said in a phone conversation Tuesday that she’s heard Steve’s allegations that Susan had emotional and mental issues. She said she found it odd that over the years she’s known Steve, and of all the times he confided in her about his obsession for Susan, he never once mentioned she had either mental or emotional issues. “I was shocked when suddenly his story changed,” she said.
Josh not only moved in with his father within weeks of Susan’s disappearance, but he remained living at his home despite all of the concerns voiced by people who knew and loved Susan. He even remained in the home after his father admitted he’d engaged in deviant sexual behaviors with his own daughter-in-law.
One Susan supporter, who wishes to remain anonymous, said, “It sure raised my hinky meter, as well as many others. You’d think Josh would have gotten a clue that something wasn’t quite right. After all, his father admitted to being in love with Susan – the mother of his children – his missing wife.”
Police search Powell home
In late August police served and executed a search warrant on Steve’s home and removed boxes of items from the home as well as computers.
They found photos and videos Steve secretly took of women and children. Some were neighbors, others were in public settings. The women and children were in various stages of undress, some were nude.
Some were photos of Susan that police say were clearly taken without her knowledge or consent.
More recent news in Susan’s case:
Susan Cox Powell’s father, Chuck Cox, shows patience and perseverance
Susan Cox Powell’s father reacts to charges against Steve Powell (Video)
Steve Powell arrested: Where are Susan Cox Powell’s children?
Click here for comprehensive news coverage on Susan’s case.
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