PUYALLUP, Washington (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) — The question in the minds of those following the case of missing West Valley City, Utah mom, Susan Cox Powell, after her father-in-law, Steve Powell’s arrest Thursday night on charges that he photographed and videotaped women and minor females’ “private parts” without their knowledge or consent, among other things, is – where are Susan’s children?
Fortunately, West Valley City Police and Pierce County Sheriff’s Office detectives worked together to execute a plan where Steve was arrested peacefully and Susan’s children were removed from the home.
Those who know and love Susan have long been concerned for the mental, emotional, and even physical safety of Susan’s children.
Their fears can be allayed, at least for the time being. According to prominent Seattle attorney, Anne Bremner, who represents Susan’s parents, the children have been removed from the Powell home.
Asked where the children are, Bremner said it has been confirmed they are in the custody of Child Protective Services.
The news of Steve’s arrest was cause for many people to celebrate Thursday night. Phone calls were made late into the night as people sought to learn as much as they could about the arrest but most of all, to ask the question – where are Susan’s kids?
The excitement of Steve’s arrest soon turned somber as people realized what he was actually being charged with. Concerns quickly shifted to the safety and well-being of the children in the home, those victimized, and their families.
Steve lives in a nice family-oriented gated community in Puyallup with a small park and playground around the corner from his home. People felt safe there and never thought someone would be secretly photographing them or their children with a telephoto lens. Some victims were photographed in the nude.
Some of the women and children photographed were Steve’s neighbors. Some were children playing in parks and other public places. Some were of children taking a bath, using the toilet, and showering. And some were of Susan that police say were obviously taken without her knowledge or consent. Something that’s been suspected for some time.
Susan’s friends and family have said for months that Susan told them Steve would sneak to look at her when she was dressing. She and her husband, Josh Powell, lived with Steve when they were first married. Once Susan realized what Steve was doing, her friends say Susan insisted they move to Utah.
Weeks after Susan went missing in December 2009, Josh moved back to their hometown of Puyallup to live with his father, two adult brothers, an adult sister, and his two children.
Josh is the only person of interest in Susan’s disappearance. Police have long said they are disappointed with his lack of cooperation. His story that he took his children camping in the middle of the West Desert in subfreezing temperatures the night Susan vanished has long-been criticized.
For more on Thursday arrest (with video), read: Steve Powell arrested, former friend shocked charges involve children.
Click on Subscribe link above to receive email updates from this National Missing Persons news writer.