Archive for the ‘Cox family’ Category

From the Seattle Times:

In a report released this morning, the state Children’s Administration found that while social workers like Griffin-Hall demonstrated a high concern for Charlie and Braden, their awareness that Powell was a suspect in his wife’s disappearance should have prompted greater vigilance. The 12-page Child Fatality Review, compiled by a panel of lawyers, a judge, a police officer, social service providers, a psychologist and two state senators, said the Children’s Administration should have tried harder to find out more about the potential threat to the children because of the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell.”

According to the Seattle Times, the report made the following recommendations for future dealings with children:

• If there’s an active criminal investigation involving someone connected with a child dependency case, Children’s Administration should make an effort to consult with law enforcement involved before making any changes in parent/child visitation agreements.

• There needs to be ongoing domestic-violence training for Children’s Administration staff.

• The courts need to articulate its reasons for placing children with a caregiver over the objection of a parent.

• Children’s Administration should reassess visitation agreements and other supervision issues soon after a psychosexual evaluation is issued.

"The message from this report is there are a lot of people reviewing the matter, myself included, who really expected to find fault in some fashion but from my perspective it really wasn’t there," Anderson said. "This is a tragic situation, despite the best efforts of the people involved in the case. There are things to be learned from it, but more it’s a ‘here’s how we can improve on things in the future’."

You can read the entire state report in a sidebar to the Seattle Times’ article, or a direct PDF link here.

Many news sources weighed in on this report today:

KSL News in Salt Lake City

Attorney Anne Bremner, speaking this morning on the Dori Monson show, Seattle

From the Associated Press, as reported by KIRO TV, Seattle

The Salt Lake Tribune spoke with Chuck Cox, who had this to say about the report:

“… That last conclusion drew a strong response from Chuck Cox, the missing woman’s father.

"We told them Josh was capable of killing the children," Cox said. "We had warned them of that very possibility. We told them of our concern that if Josh Powell was cornered and was going to lose the children or be arrested, he would be capable of killing the children and himself. And that is exactly what happened."

Cox said he and his wife Judy shared that concern with caseworkers, psychologists, police and attorneys involved in the case after receiving temporary custody of their grandsons in September 2011.

"They heard us, they knew about it and they chose to dismiss it," he said. "And, as a result, our grandchildren are dead."

…. Cox said that while he believes case workers were doing the best they could and had genuine concern for his grandsons, the child welfare system is flawed because of its focus on reunification of children and parents.

"Pointing fingers is not going to bring the children back," he said, "but perhaps the notoriety of this case will help protect other children and makes changes to focus on the best interests of children."



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On June 15, Steve Powell was sentenced to 30 months for 12 counts of voyeurism (the judge threw out two counts).

With time served and a discount for good behavior, Steve’s lawyers say he could be out in 13-14 months instead of the 21 months he has remaining.

The mother of the voyeurism victims addressed Steve Powell in court, as reported by KSL-TV:

‘"I have yet to hear you apologize. You’ve sat there smugly as if it’s perfectly normal to commit your crimes," she said to Powell. "Shame on you! Shame on you for not admitting what you did was wrong, and for not admitting it at all."

‘She said her daughters "have to carry this forever."

‘"They did nothing to you, but you’ve stolen their sense of security," the woman said.

‘"And while I didn’t know you were watching my girls, I do know that somebody was watching you. And you better pray that he forgives you, because I can’t."’

Steve Powell was served with a civil lawsuit against him by the victims.

His lawyers are already appealing his conviction, arguing once again that the search of his house which gathered the voyeurism evidence was illegal.

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During the second week of May 2012, Steve Powell’s voyeurism trial began.

The mother of the two neighbor girls—victims of Steve Powell’s voyeurism—testified, and so did her two daughters, the victims.

The jury viewed pictures of the voyeuristic evidence. They were ordered every day by the judge not to view, read or research anything about the case, or about Josh or Susan Powell.

Many wondered why Susan was not named as a victim, since Steve Powell had taken many photos of her without her knowledge, and admitted in his journal that he was a voyeur as he wrote obsessively about Susan and others.

Anne Bremner, an attorney for the Cox family, explained that Susan couldn’t be named as a victim because she was not there to testify that she didn’t know Steve was videotaping and photographing her without her knowledge.

Detectives from both Pierce County, Washington and West Valley City, Utah testified against Steve Powell. Jennifer Graves, Steve Powell’s daughter, also testified against her father.

The defense did not call any witnesses. The jury deliberated for about 6 hours but finally returned a unanimous “guilty on all counts” verdict against Steve.

During the trial Alina Powell, Josh Powell’s younger sister, put up a website claiming her father was innocent and had a perfectly normal, innocent relationship with Susan. She also claimed police planted the evidence against her father.

Those close to Susan were grateful to Alina for releasing videos of Susan, but felt her messages and claims were the mark of desperation, and agreed with Brent Hunsaker’s view of this website:

“But in truth, I saw very little interaction between Susan and Steve in the videos. No eye contact. No direct conversations. If anything, it appears Susan is ignoring her father-in-law and focusing almost exclusively on her two boys.

“I do not see what Alina sees.

”As someone pointed out to me, there are films of Adolph Hitler playing with his dogs. Does that prove he was a loving man? No. How do we know? Context.”

Steve Powell was returned to jail, and the sentencing hearing was set for June 15.

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Lawyers for Steve Powell, in jail for voyeurism of two young neighbor girls in 2006, tried to get all the evidence against him seized in the search of his home in August, 2011 thrown out.

On Tuesday, April 24, 2012, judge Ronald Culpepper ruled that the search was legal and the evidence would stay in for the trial.

The KSL article about the hearing reports the following:

‘Pierce County Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper ruled that evidence collected during a search of Steven Powell’s house in August by police will be admissible during his upcoming trial.

‘But maybe just as important for the Cox family was hearing a judge say for the first time that there was enough evidence to reasonably believe Josh Powell was responsible for the disappearance of his wife.

‘"It’s a relief to actually hear him say it in court," said Chuck Cox, Susan Powell’s father.

‘In issuing his decision, Culpepper said, "I think these facts offer a very reasonable inference, something that would warrant a person of reasonable caution in finding probable cause in believing Joshua Powell, the subject of the investigation, was involved in the disappearance and very likely the death of Susan Powell."

‘Culpepper said there was probable cause for West Valley police to seek Susan Powell’s diaries, which were being kept in Josh and Steven Powell’s Puyallup, Wash., house, as well as probable cause to obtain all of the digital media in the home that led to the discovery of thousands of photographs of young children, many nude or partially nude, allegedly taken by Steven Powell.’

FOX 13 has more on this hearing and a copy of the witness list for the upcoming trial of Steve Powell.

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On Saturday, February 11, funeral services were held for Charlie and Braden Powell, ages 5 and 7. Susan’s beloved little boys were celebrated and remembered by friends, teachers, and family. The funeral was live-streamed via internet and TV in Washington and Utah. (Watch the complete funeral service here, courtesy of KIRO-TV.)

Image from Seattle Times

Coverage from KSL-TV

Huffington Post

ABC News

Funeral notice by funeral home


A copy of the funeral program, provided by Seattle’s King-5

Seattle Times photos from the funeral

 Video memorial for the boys, courtesy of KING-5, Seattle

Eulogies for Charlie and Braden

At the request of ABC News, I wrote about the events of that weekend. You can read it here.

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The events of this day (just like the day Susan was first reported missing, on December 7, 2009) will forever be burned into my mind.

I returned home from church at about 2:20pm (Mountain time) in Salt Lake City, Utah. Right after walking in the door, my phone rang. I saw that it was ABC-4, one of Salt Lake City’s local TV news stations.

I sighed as I thought, “What now?” I figured there must be some sort of news.

I had no idea just how devastating this news would be.

The person on the phone told me they were sorry to be the one to tell me this if I didn’t know, but they had just received reports of an explosion at Josh Powell’s house.

I was confused. “What do you mean? An actual explosion, or a verbal explosion?” I was thinking they were referring to some sort of yelling match.  I also asked if it was at Steve Powell’s house, or Josh’s rental house.

They answered, “The rental house. An actual explosion. And it was during Josh’s visitation time—there are reports that the bodies of two children were found.”

Time seemed to stop. I screamed, “NO!!! NO, no, no!!” My family came running down the stairs and gathered around me. They thought I’d just received news of a car accident—I had a sister and her family who were driving across the country that day, to the West Coast.

The ABC-4 person was saying something, but I interrupted them and gasped out “I’m sorry, I can’t talk right now.” I hung up and dialed Chuck Cox, with trembling fingers.

He answered right away. I was crying so hard I could hardly talk. I said, without preamble, “Is it true?? A news station just called me. Is it true??”

He said, “I don’t know. I’m on my way there right now. I’ll call you back as soon as I know.”

The next thing I had to do was make two of the hardest phone calls I’ve ever had to make in my life. The first one was to Jennifer Graves, and the next one was to Debbie Caldwell.

Jennifer is Josh’s sister, and had plans to adopt Charlie and Braden. She already loved and knew them as her nephews, and thought of them as her future sons. She had been through two years of hell, along with the Coxes and myself and others who knew and loved Susan, and courageously stood up for Susan even when Josh, Steve, and their other siblings in Washington publicly “disowned” and defamed her.

Debbie was Charlie and Braden’s daycare provider before Susan disappeared (she’s also the one who raised the alarm that Susan, Josh, and the boys were missing when the boys didn’t show up to daycare on December 7, 2009). Susan’s boys spent 12 hours a day with her, three days each week, and thought of her as their Nana. She loved them like her own grandchildren. She worried about and grieved for them every day they were in Washington, and called CPS right after Josh moved them there in 2009 to beg CPS to do a child welfare check.

I did not want to be the one to tell either of these amazing women, who have become two of my closest friends. But I would rather they heard it from me than hear the news from a stranger (no offense to any media person reading this).

I won’t infringe on their privacy by reporting their reactions, but I’m sure you can imagine how they felt.

I was praying and crying and pacing nervously while waiting for Chuck to call me back. The phone rang a few minutes later. “It’s true,” he said heavily. “I’ve just been there and talked to the sheriff. Josh blew up the house and they’ve found three bodies inside.”

I was crying so hard I couldn’t talk. Chuck said, “I wish there was something I could say to help.” Even in my grief, I was amazed…these were his grandchildren, and he was trying to think of something he could say or do to comfort me.

He told me he was still in crisis mode and hadn’t had a chance to process. I felt the same.

Throughout the afternoon, friends and church members stopped by. We hugged and cried, not saying much. News trucks descended in force. The media were all very kind. I know this tragedy affected those reporters, too—many of them have covered this case in every detail since Susan disappeared.

That evening, I found out a few minutes before it started that some total strangers had planned a candlelight vigil in the parking lot of an elementary school. I packed up my family and we went there to meet a group of about 30 or so people, none of whom had any connection to Susan but who just wanted to show their love and support. They were so wonderful to do such a kind thing to help us grieve together over Charlie and Braden’s loss.

Some of the huge amounts of news coverage from that terrible day:


KING-5, Seattle

CBS News

Huffington Post

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On Wednesday, February 1, 2012, Josh Powell went to court again to try to regain custody of his two sons, Charlie and Braden. After a tense afternoon for those in the courtroom (and many following the proceedings all over the world), the judge ruled that Chuck and Judy Cox/Washington state would keep custody of the boys until July 2012, when court would reconvene for another hearing.

The judge also ordered Josh to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation, including a polygraph test, because of suspicious pictures of (what was later revealed as) “computer-animated incestuous images” found on his Utah computer, seized by police in 2009.

News coverage of the hearing:

KIRO-TV, Seattle

ABC News

Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Reaction from Salt Lake-area friends from ABC-4

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