PUYALLUP, Washington (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) — Things have apparently settled down this week in the case of missing West Valley City, Utah mom Susan Cox Powell, who went missing in December 2009.
Recent developments in the Susan Cox Powell missing persons case shocked the nation as they watched and listened to her father-in-law admit he was in love with Susan, and her husband Josh Powell agreeing with him that she was flirtatious, promiscuous, and sexual.
Steve first said Susan became uspet when he “took liberties” and made advances toward her saying she felt he was hitting on her. He later said the feelings were mutual and that Susan actually came on to him first. Click here for more.
Steve admitted to having an inappropriate father-in-law / daughter-in-law relationship with Susan. Josh said neither Susan nor his father, Steve, told him of their inappropriate relationship.
Peter Hyatt and Isabelle Zehnder joined Susan Murphy-Milano to discuss the case Thursday (click here for audio – advance to Susan’s story, last 1/2 hour of the show.)
Over the past couple of weeks police sent detectives from West Valley City, Utah to follow up on a lead in Ely, Nevada. During the search Susan’s friends and family were holding the Honk and Wave Campaign trying to keep Susan’s name and story in the public eye. Steve Powell approached Susan’s father, Chuck Cox, on a street corner in Puyallup and tempers flared.
Days later police descended upon the home of Steve and Josh Powell, executing a search warrant and removing numerous items from their home. News reports indicate among items removed were boxes packed with miscellaneous items from the home, computers, Susan’s teenage journals, and Steve’s personal journals. They also searched and removed items from Josh’s van.
Police clarify statement
Following the search of the Powell home KOMO News reports Lt. Merritt said, “What we have here today will help us draw closer to a conclusion. Whether it’s the conclusion that everybody wants and hopes for, we don’t know. It may be a conclusion that nobody wants to admit could happen.”
Lt. Merritt’s statement spurred online comments saying it left them with more questions. Asked to explain his statement, Lt. Merritt said in an email Thursday, “We were seeking certain things in that search warrant and we found what we were looking for. Every piece of evidence helps us draw closer to a conclusion. This case is still classified as a “Missing Person” and that means we don’t know for sure what happened to Susan. We hope that she is alive and that we will one day find her. But we also need to prepare for what no one wants to think about, and that is the possibility of her being deceased. Every day we take important steps in the investigation and each individual step brings us closer to a conclusion.”
Police named her husband, Josh Powell, a person of interest in her disappearance soon after she vanished. He remains the only person of interest in her case.
Those who have continued to follow Susan’s case have shared their concerns that her case was growing cold. Detectives with West Valley City Police, the lead agency in Susan’s case, have repeatedly said, and continue to say, the case is anything but cold and that the investigation has remained active and open.
Their silence hasn’t helped ease the minds of those who desperately are seeking answers to what happened to Susan Cox Powell. WVCPD say they are not at liberty to discuss details of the case due to a silence order issued by a Utah judge early on in the case.
But WVCPD was able to break their silence in mid-August when they issued a press release announcing an August 19 search for Susan in Ely, Nevada. They said the search was based on a tip they’d received but could not discuss when or how they received the tip, or who provided the tip.
WVCPD officials invited media to the search in Ely. WVCPD spokesman Sgt. Mike Powell told knotmove.com during a phone conversation days after the search that detectives felt the search was a success but could not elaborate on the details.
Steve and Josh Powell said they believed the search in Ely would bring vindication for Josh saying they thought Susan was alive, had run off with another man, and that police would find her in a hotel or apartment. Susan’s friends and family have long disputed their allegations, including that Susan ran off with another man.
The search in Ely did not yield a live Susan living in an apartment in a hotel room. Instead, KSL News reports detectives were checking various abandoned mine shafts to see if they had been disrupted and recording their geographical locations.
Some voiced their shock and dismay at the Powell men, saying it appeared they were only thinking about Josh’s vindication and not about the fate of his wife.
While detectives were searching in Ely Susan’s friends and family were distributing flyers during a previously-planned “Honk and Wave” campaign to bring Susan’s name and picture back into the minds of the public.
ABC-4 News reports Chuck Cox was standing on a street corner in Puyallup when he was approached by Steve. Tempers flared when Steve accused Chuck of being a cyber-bully and a liar, to which Chuck replied he’s never accused Josh in Susan’s disappearance.
Chuck said what he has said, and what he will continue to say, is that he wishes Josh would cooperate with police so he [Josh] can “get himself cleared so we can move on.”
Just days following the Ely search detectives from WVCPD arrived in Puyallup and executed a search warrant on the home of Steve and Josh Powell. Lt. Merritt said they got what they were looking for when they searched the Powell home. Among the items removed from the home were Susan’s teenage journals.
KSL.com reported that Steve complained that in addition to taking Susan’s journals police took “embarrassing” journals, pictures, and videos belonging to him.
Months ago the Powells posted several pages of Susan’s childhood and teenage journals on a website they created under Susan’s name, trying to prove she had a troubled childhood. They threatened to continue posting her journal entries in an effort to show that Susan was unstable, suicidal, and was capable of leaving her husband for another man. They said they had in their possession about 2,000 pages of her journals.
Their threats shocked all those who know Susan and many who don’t. And those who know Susan have all denied the claims made by her father-in-law and husband, Steve and Josh Powell. They say instead, Susan was a loving and caring wife and mother who struggled through a tough marriage and tried, against all odds, to make it work. She was strong in her religious beliefs and worked hard to help support her family.
Susan’s father told The Salt Lake Tribune back in 2010, “Everyone that knew her can attest to her loving, helpful, optimistic attitude.” Many people who knew Susan before she vanished have spoken out over the past 20 months. Countless statements made during dozens of interviews during that time have confirmed what Chuck said back in 2010.
For more recent coverage on this story, read:
Susan Cox Powell: Case update; allegations she was promiscuous confronted
Finally, light shed on why Susan Cox Powell feared her father-in-law
Would Susan Cox Powell run off with another man, emotionally torment friends, family?
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