Posts Tagged ‘Salt Lake Tribune’

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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The West Valley City Police Department, along with help and volunteers from eight other Utah counties, spent 12 days searching  Utah’s remote desert areas around Topaz Mountain near Delta, Utah.  The search officially began on Tuesday, September 13.

On Wednesday (day 2) they discovered an area that appeared to be some type of “shallow grave.”  11 cadaver dogs “hit” on this area, indicating that some type of human remains was buried there.

Police brought in an anthropologist to see if the area was an old burial site—possibly a pioneer, or maybe Native American.  The anthropologist said the site was more recent: probably anywhere from the past 2 months to 10 years.

Police began excavating the site, with a forensics team carefully sifting through each shovelful of dirt for any type of suspicious matter.  By late Saturday afternoon, they discovered what the dogs were interested in: approximately 100 pieces of charred wood ranging in size from dimes to golf balls.  This wood was buried about 2 1/2 feet below the surface.  The wood pieces were sent to a forensic lab for analysis.

Chuck Cox, Susan’s father, arrived on Thursday, day 3 of the search, to see the area for himself and to support police in their efforts.  He flew back on Wednesday morning, September 21, to prepare for a court hearing.

The search continued on Sunday with help from 5 Utah counties…personnel and search and rescue (SAR) teams on foot, ATV, horseback, plane and helicopter scoured the desert in specific grid patterns, looking for any sign of Susan Cox Powell. 

Monday morning three more counties joined the search

The search officially ended on Friday, September 23.  Police found various items of clothing, which were photographed and sent to labs for analysis.  They said the search was “successful” and “accomplished what [they] set out to do.” 

Susan’s family and friends want the West Valley Police Department, the SAR personnel, the volunteers, the horseback riders, the pilots, the cadaver dogs and their handlers and everyone who was involved in this search to know how deeply grateful we all are for their determination to find Susan.  We have full confidence that the WVPD will find Susan, solve this case, and bring us the answers we so desperately need.

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After returning from the Good Morning America interview in New York,  Chuck Cox posted this statement to the Friends and Family of Susan Powell Facebook group:

Thank you all for your support. Thanks to the Media for giving us the opportunity to address these blatant falsehoods. Susan was first and foremost a loving mother totally devoted to her marriage and the support of her husband. We know as I am sure everyone realizes she was not perfect but I assure you, it wasn’t due to a lack of effort. Everyone that knew her can attest to her loving, helpful, optimistic attitude.

We appreciate your help, support and confidence in her. We know that the Police are doing everything in their power to resolve this case and bring the guilty to Justice. We will continue to do everything in our power to find Susan.

–Chuck Cox

Hundreds of statements of support for Susan and her family have been posted online since the Salt Lake Tribune interview with Josh and Steve Powell came out last Friday, November 5.  Here are some thoughts from the “Friends and Family” Facebook group:

James wrote:

Dear Chuck and Judy, we know the truth. We know Susan would never leave her children no matter how much trouble there may have been (or not been) in her marriage. I know it’s hard to listen to unfounded accusations, but I hope you will remember the words of one of the ancient prophets, Elisha:  

Fear not: for they that… be with us are more than they that be with them. (2 Kings 6:16)

We love you and continue praying for you, your family and, of course, for Susan.

Trisha wrote about Susan’s family:

I can’t even begin to imagine what they are going through after the interview with the Tribune. Nothing but lies, lies, and more lies. Praying for Susan, her boys, her parents, and all of her family and friends.

Candice wrote:

One thing we know for sure: if Susan were to make it home, she would be WELCOMED WITH OPEN ARMS by her family, friends, community, state, nation, and anyone who knows about this in the world. Recent statements only seem to reflect how two people feel, and not the thousands, possibly millions of others who want to see Susan again.

We won’t give up hope! So many of us are hoping and praying in this hard time.


Anne wrote:

I would like Susan’s family and friends to know that I’m appalled and saddened at the recent rantings in the media by Josh and Steven Powell.

I hope you know that no reasonable person will put any stock whatsoever in anything these two have to say.

I continue to pray for you, for Susan’s sons, and for Susan.

Shirley wrote:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Cox. I keep a flyer of your Daughter in my car window. People ask me why I still have it there after so many months have gone by. I tell them I will keep it up until Susan is found.We did that with Elizabeth Smart. Please know that your family are all in my husband and my prayers.

Maurine wrote:

Never Forget, Never Give Up! Keep Hope Alive, you never know what moment a miracle may happen. I pray for that miracle for Susan and her loved ones. Keep your eyes open to what is going on around you.  I keep thinking how her purse and phone were left behind…, that is not the actions of a wife and Mother leaving her home voluntarily. I have to believe someone out there has seen something. Keep Susan’s story and face out there where the public has her face clearly and freshly in their minds. I pray she will be reunited with her children in this life! Somebody knows the answers to her whereabouts, if you know anything, please have the courage to come forward and report what you know to the West Valley Police Dept, it is the right thing to do.

Kate wrote:


The heartbreaking thing is Susan didn’t ask for much. She strived each day to live a peaceful, happy life surrounded by the people she loves most. She isn’t a pushy, demanding person…she just wanted the opportunity to be the best mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend she could be…to live her life with grace and integrity, filled with love and joy as she raised her sons into men…I am heartbroken that someone thought she deserved less than everything, that they felt they had the right to dictate the course of Susan’s life, to deny her the God given right to be a mother to her precious sons….

We are here Susan, to be your voice, to be your strength and to be your advocate until we find you and bring you home. We are not going anywhere…11 months is a ridiculous amount of time but if it takes 11 years I will still be here ♥

Chuck Cox, Susan’s father, posted this shortly after the Tribune article was released:

“One more thing, most important: Keep looking.”

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Friday night, the world was shocked when Josh Powell broke his 11-month silence with an inflammatory 6-hour interview with the Salt Lake Tribune’s Nate Carlisle.

Josh and his father Steve Powell made many claims in the Tribune article, including the following:

* They believe that Susan “ran off” with a boyfriend because she is “sexually and financially motivated”

* They believe Susan is “mentally unstable”

* They accuse the Cox family of starting a foundation to help other adult missing persons as a cover to “solicit donations”

As quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune article, Jennifer Graves, Josh Powell’s sister, had this to say about Josh and Steve’s claims:

“They’ve basically accused Susan of being a slut, and it’s offensive to me,” Jennifer Graves said. “She was not. She was frustrated with her marriage.”

Her husband Kirk added, “They need an explanation for why she’s not around.  He can’t say ‘Of course, she’s not around because I killed her.’ ”

The Graves’ told the Salt Lake Tribune that Susan was NOT mentally unstable and that, in fact, it’s the Powell side of the family—Josh and Steve’s side—that have mental issues. 

The article goes on to say:
The irony, the Graveses said, is that one of Josh Powell’s brothers has been diagnosed as bipolar and schizophrenic. Steve Powell, they said, is a controlling person who often drives the actions of some of his children. With mental illness running in the family, the Graveses wonder if Josh might be the one suffering from it.

The Tribune article has garnered a passionate response all across the world, as online readers weigh in on the subject.  The overwhelming majority of people have spoken in support of Susan, her two little boys, and the Cox and Graves families.  The local and national media also had a swift response.  There are now too many articles and videos to list them all, but here’s a few:

Good Morning America’s report on Sunday, November 7

A report from Seattle’s QFOX13

Statement Analysis goes through the entire Salt Lake Tribune article and highlights disturbing passages with some very thought-provoking discussion

Local Salt Lake City TV station ABC-4 has reaction from the Cox and Graves families

On Monday morning, Chuck and Judy Cox, as well as Jennifer and Kirk Graves, were interviewed in New York City for Good Morning America

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With the warmer weather comes the inevitable—more and more bodies are being found in the Salt Lake valley and surrounding areas.

Every time we get one of these reports, our hearts drop.  We teeter on the brink of wild emotions—hope that it’s not Susan, hope that it is.  We want her to be alive but we also want her found and if she is no longer with us, we need to find her and catch those responsible.

A body was discovered by a worker at a potash plant near Wendover last Tuesday.  Yesterday, another body was found in Red Butte Creek near the University of Utah campus.  Crews were working to clean up the Chevron oil spill and found the body in some debris.  You can read the local media stories here: KSL, ABC-4, KUTV2, FOX13, the Salt Lake Tribune, and the Deseret News.

[UPDATE June 22: The Red Butte Creek body has been identified.  We are still waiting for word on the one discovered by the potash plant.]

Shelby Gifford, the Cox family spokesperson, posted this statement last night on the Friends and Family of Susan Powell Facebook group:

On behalf of the Cox family, thank you for your kind words of love and support on this very difficult Father’s Day. Like you, we’ve become aware of an unidentified body found in Red Butte Creek in Utah today. We have been in touch with investigators and have been assured that they will notify us once a determination has been made regarding the gender and age of the body. We will let you know what we find out as soon as we can. Thanks again for your concern for this wonderful family. We are grateful for you.

Chuck Cox, Susan’s father, had this to say late last night:

It has been a very hard day for me, personally. Every family I see, with young women headed for college or a young mother seemed to bring me a wave of grief. It is very hard to explain, I pray Susan is still alive. It helps to know that many people support her and her family. It is so sad that in just a few days, 2 bodies have been discovered. Every body found that isn’t Susan leaves the possibility that she is alive and will return. But it means some other family has lost a loved one. I know that Heavenly Father will answer our prayers. Thank you all for your support.

On Thursday a billboard went up in Salt Lake City.  It is located on highway 201, and you can see it if you are heading east-bound, just east of the 8000 West stoplight near Magna and West Valley City.

Photo: courtesy Glenda Ryser

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Today it’s been 5 months since Susan Cox Powell disappeared from her home under very suspicious circumstances.

If you’re new to this story, you can find details on the case in thousands of articles, videos, and websites scattered across the internet.  Some good places to look are this website dedicated to finding Susan, the many excellent articles written by Examiner.com’s Isabelle Zehnder since the beginning, the 800 links in the archive of the Friends and Family of Susan Powell Facebook group, and local Salt Lake City media outlets like KSL5, ABC4, KUTV2, FOX13, the Salt Lake Tribune, and the Deseret News.

There hasn’t been a whole lot in the news the past few weeks, but a few days ago an Idaho discovery had a lot of people talking and wondering if it could be Susan.  It wasn’t, but our hearts go out to the family of Stephanie Eldridge

On Tuesday afternoon, Isabelle Zehnder with Examiner.com broke the exclusive story of a gag order on the West Valley City police department.  You can read about the reaction of Susan’s parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, here.

Nothing spectacular has been officially planned to mark the 5-month anniversary of Susan’s disappearance today, but many people across the world are planning to light candles in their homes and on their front porches.  You can also light a “virtual candle” here, as well—candles burn for 48 hours and you can come back and light as many as you want. 

Patty on Facebook, someone who never met Susan or her family but has been a faithful supporter for months now, said this:

“I will put mine out on the porch right now. May I ask everyone to pray at High Noon tomorrow, so we can all be praying at the same time? I love this family so much.”

Photos by Amber Hardman, Allison St. Louis, and Kiirsi Hellewell; scrapbooking by Briana Horne

Susan’s friends and family are very grateful to Susan’s past and present friends, the many thousands that have supported and encouraged us with their love and prayers, all the people who have tirelessly searched for her, and especially to the West Valley Police Department for their unrelenting hard work and dedication to finding Susan.  We believe Susan will be found—hopefully before too many more of these anniversaries pass.

Photo and art by Amber Hardman, Hardman Photography


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I’m so enmeshed in every bit of news that comes out about Susan and the search for Susan that I sometimes forget: not everyone knows where to look to find the most recent articles, especially if you’re not on Facebook and a member of our Friends and Family of Susan Powell Facebook group.

So here’s a recap of the past few days’ latest news regarding efforts to find Susan:

Here’s an ABC-4 article and video clip about concerns arising for the April 10 ground search.  The video is in the top right corner.  The video is well worth watching because it has a man talking about Josh Powell making a comment about mine shafts during a Christmas party in 2008.

This is a blog post by Brent Hunsaker, reporter for ABC-4 news.  He talks about his ride to Simpson Springs with Chuck Cox on March 19.  It’s a wonderful post and insight into the Cox family.

Here we have another excellent article by Examiner.com’s Isabelle Zehnder, who has done a wonderful job highlighting Susan’s disappearance and really digging deep to help find what happened to Susan.  This article is about Josh’s mine shaft comment and also gives comments from the April 10 search organizers.

In this article Isabelle speaks with a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) official who details the concerns with searches of the west desert and lists precautions and necessary preparations for anyone planning to search there.

The Salt Lake Tribune updated their lawsuit story, reporting that their lawyers dropped the suit against unsealing the search warrants served on Josh Powell’s DNA, the family van, and their house.  It’s a very interesting read.  Isabelle from Examiner.com also reported on this article, here.

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