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Big news today! A beautiful new song written from the perspective of Susan and her boys is now available and ready to purchase, TODAY, on iTunes and Amazon.

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Buy the song on iTunes here.

Buy the song on Amazon here.

All proceeds from the sale of this song will go to to the Susan, Charlie and Braden Memorial Fund, to build a memorial for Susan and her boys. This memorial will help us honor and remember Susan, Charlie and Braden, and to stand as a symbol of hope and the absolute need for change in laws protecting women and children, or any victims of domestic violence.

We are so excited to finally be able to present this song to the world. The song was a beautiful gift from songwriter Camilyn Morrison to her friend, Jennifer Graves. For more about the song’s creation, see this article by the Deseret News.

Jessie Funk, award-winning singer and professional youth speaker, is the beautiful voice you hear on the song. View Jessie’s website here.

You can watch the music video on YouTube here.

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Big news this morning: 84 previously-sealed documents dealing with the disappearance of Susan were unsealed and released to the public. The news is just now coming out, so more details on the documents, as well as the documents themselves, will be released later today.

Thanks go to the Salt Lake Tribune for getting these documents released to the public.

So far the story is up on the following news sites:

FOX-13 News, Salt Lake City, who had this to say:

“The documents also reveal that the oldest Powell child told investigators that Susan did go on the infamous camping trip, but he told detectives [his] mother decided to stay at the campsite.”

From King 5 in Seattle:

“As early as two days after Susan Powell was reported missing, authorities in their hometown of West Valley City, Utah, were describing the case as a murder, kidnapping, unlawful detention and obstruction of justice probe, the documents reveal.”

KSL News in Salt Lake said this:

From the earliest stages of their investigation, West Valley police focused on "blood stain patterns" found on the sofa, carpet and floor of the Powell’s West Valley home. In a search warrant affidavit from Dec. 14, 2009, detectives believed "that someone was injured and lost blood while on the sofa inside the residence." Forensics testing later confirmed the blood was Susan Powell’s.

“Detectives also noted in court documents: "There was nothing missing from the residence, there was no signs of forced entry and it didn’t appear there was a robbery, home invasion, burglary or signs of a struggle."

“Also compelling for police were the statements of Josh and Susan Powell’s son Charlie Powell, who was 4 at the time. He told detectives that "his mother had gone with them camping on Sunday and that for some reason she stayed at the campsite and did not return home with them," according to a search warrant affidavit filed the day after Susan Powell was reported missing.”

The Salt Lake Tribune had some really interesting tidbits from the documents, including the following:

* “The last call on Susan Powell’s phone was made at 2:29 p.m. on Dec. 6, 2009, to Jovanna Owings, a friend. Josh Powell called his father at 12:14 p.m. that same day. One affidavit said Steve Powell later said his son had called him for a pancake recipe.

* “during an initial interview Josh Powell said he left the couple’s West Valley City home between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. to go camping near Cedar Fort to test a newly purchased generator.

* “Josh Powell also claimed to not know where his wife was and "did not appear to have any concern at this time for her welfare."

* “In the search of the couple’s van, police found a generator, blankets, a gas can, tarps, circular saw, humidifier, utility knife, latex gloves, rake, sleds, and a shovel.

* “They also found Susan’s cell phone in the center console of the Chrysler Town and Country van. The SIM card was missing.

"’ ‘This phone was off and upon finding it Mr. Powell appeared nervous and could not account for the phone being in the vehicle,’ according to a different affidavit taken from West Valley City Detective Ellis Maxwell.

* “Josh Powell seemed unresponsive when Maxwell told him that Susan Powell’s purse, filled with her credit cards, identification and other personal items, was left in the home. What Maxwell didn’t mention in that interview was that investigators also had found a key to Susan’s secret safety deposit box.”

The Salt Lake Tribune will be posting the 84 documents in their entirety in this article in the next hour or so.

Edited to add: FOX 13 has complete PDFs of all 84 documents here.

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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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KOMO News and QFOX 13 News in Seattle report that a new non-profit organization, Charlie’s Dinosaur, will be helping foster children.

 
Photo source: QFOX13, Seattle

When kids are taken from neglectful or troubled homes by the state, they often don’t have time to take any of their own belongings. A small group of Pierce County Detectives want to give those kids something to call their own.

Pierce County detectives who knew and loved Charlie and Braden Powell found a large dinosaur drawing made by Charlie, Susan’s oldest son, age 7. They decided to start a non-profit named “Charlie’s Dinosaur” in memory of Charlie and Braden.

They plan to collect donations so they can give away backpacks filled with toys, books, and hygiene items each month to foster children.

From KOMO News:

Thanks to … a handful of Pierce County detectives, Charlie’s Dinosaur was born, and donations helped it grow. Toiletries, toys and books – the essentials and good-to-haves – now fill backpacks for foster children in need. 

"We’re hoping to put out maybe a hundred backpacks a month to children who’ve been placed for either abuse or neglect," says Anderson.

And in the process, they’re honoring two children and helping kids be kids.

From QFOX 13:

Pierce County sheriff’s detective Kevin Johnson and Sgt. Theresa Berg found the drawing of Charlie’s dinosaur when they searched Josh Powell’s storage unit after he killed the boys during a visitation and blew up his home near Graham in February.  

"There were so few items that belonged to the boys that survived anything, so few items that this was kind of precious to us,” Berg said. 

Both Johnson and Berg had spent a lot of time with the Powell boys after Child Protective Services took custody of them from their father.

"These kids were not strangers to us,” Berg said. “They were comfortable with us. They would run to us. We liked them and we played with them."

Investigating their deaths was difficult.

"This was probably the first case like this I can ever remember actually crying afterwards,” Johnson said. “It was tough.”

Out of that anguish came an idea for a charity to help other foster kids.

"A lot of the people that are taken into protective custody don’t have any belongings at all, and if they do, we were told they have to carry them around in plastic garbage bags," Johnson said.

"It tells me that we can do something positive for kids and out of this horrible, horrible thing at least every time I look at it, I know that we’ve done something positive," Johnson said.

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Many people were shocked and horrified to read this article by Salt Lake-area KSL tonight. Even though Steve Powell was supposedly sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail, they are now shortening his sentence to 338 days from the time his sentencing took effect on June 19 (down from the 913 days it was supposed to be).

I just don’t understand the criminal justice system. “Justice” for Steve’s victims—those two little neighbor girls that he spied on when they thought they were safe in their own home–doesn’t seem to enter the equation.

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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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