Susan Cox Powell

I have always found the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell and all that transpired after, very tragic and interesting.  I just finished reading Greg Oleson's book "If I Can't Have You" and it has rejuvenated those feelings. As I start writing this in fact, I have not finished my research into the case completely but I also have not decided how I want to title this blog. First off, you will always see me refer to Susan as simply Susan or as Susan Cox Powell.  You will not see me refer to her simply as Susan Powell.  In fact, the only reason I am even adding the Powell name at all in for respect for her children and the fact that she was known with that name widely in the media.  As I said, I have not completely finished my research as I start this, and I may find out later that my wishes are granted, but I hope that Susan's family is suing the pants off of anyone, and everyone that they can! The disappearance of Susan was tragic in its own right but facing all the evidence and the warnings that police, social workers, anyone who would listen, to know that nothing was done, not just to her husband Josh, but to protect Susan's innocent children is, to me, even more tragic.  Not only is it plainly evident that Susan Cox Powell did not simply walk away from her life and yet, one, or more people have gotten away with her murder, despite her body not being found, but to allow that same person, or people, to create more tragedy is unforgivable.

I will also state that while the issues surrounding Steven Powell and his charges revolving around voyeurism and possession of child pornography are not directly related to Susan's disappearance, his charges and behaviors will be discussed here. It is my opinion, that while there is no evidence that he was involved in Susan's presumed murder, it does give insight into his family his raising of his children.  While I will be the first one to tell you that I have no sympathy for the actions taken by Josh Powell, I also feel a duty to explain, "the why."  This is a question we all want answers to.  When someone is criminally charged, especially in cases of murder, a prosecutor is not obligated to give a motive, but in the same respect, they know that jurors want a motive.  We all want to know what causes someone to take the actions that they do and I feel that the behavior of Steven Powell answers some of those questions.  

I always hate to seem to be someone who "jumps on the bandwagon" of others or the media when I write these blogs.  I always try to go into them with a complete open mind and put all the stories together so that when the reader comes here they can see all the sides.  Granted, it is difficult, and I often fail in trying to keep my own opinions out of the story, at least until the end.  However, the more and more that I research this case, the more disgusted I become, not just for the things that have happened, but the things that continue to happen.  if you were to do your own search of this case and all that surrounds it, you will find many news articles.  If you scroll down to the comments section you will find nothing but hate towards the Powell family, and nearly every member.  Thankfully, you will often find someone who comes out to remind others, that there is at least one member of the Powell family who has not apparently "drank the Kool-Aid."  Going into this I had some sympathy for Josh Powell's mother, however, through research, that sympathy has waned.  Her continued behavior through the courts is appalling to say the least. She, alone with her daughter, Alina, are continuing to fight for monies from insurance companies that are now in a trust until which time things are settled.  Charles "Chuck" Cox, Susan's father has been appointed the trustee of the estate and has effectively cut the Powell family out of the remaining $2.3M life insurance policy to which Terri Powell, and her daughter, Alina, as well as representing the estate of Josh's late brother, Michael, are fighting for a portion. When I first began reading information on this I believed that the very most Josh Powell's family should possibly be entitled to only the monies that it cost for his funeral.  Although, most of the family members did not deserve even that in my opinion, I felt as if Terri and her daughter, Jennifer (who has always believed Josh to be guilty of Susan's disappearance, and has removed herself from associating with the rest of the Powell siblings), who seemed the most decent of the family should not be saddled with any kind of debt associated with the funeral expenses of Josh.  

It is unlikely that justice will ever be served in the disappearance, and likely murder of Susan Cox Powell.  Even when someone is convicted of a crime, if their case is on appeal when they die, they are officially cleared of charges.  In this case, no one has ever been charged.  Officially authorities believe that Josh, and his brother Michael were involved in her death but both have since died.  Most believe that Josh's father, Steve, knows what happened, and likely knows where Susan's body is, but it is widely believed that he was not involved and he refuses to talk.  If authorities are right, mostly likely the only charges relating to her disappearance or death would come in the form of tampering with evidence or obstruction of justice, and there are only a few likely suspects, one obviously being Steve, the other possibly Josh's sister and Steve's daughter Alina.  Until someone talks or Susan's body is likely stumbled upon by someone officially it is unlikely that the truth will ever come out.

I could spend days searching the information that is out on this case but ultimately it all points in the same direction, with the same results, but sadly nothing definitive, so authorities say, and not enough that they felt they could obtain convictions for.  As with many cases, the real "facts" do not tend to come out until there is an ultimate conclusion, or in this case, where the case was declared "inactive" and the files were released allowing information, previously unknown, to be released.  Sadly though, the "real facts," had details that only reinforced what everyone already "knew."  

The beginning would seemingly appear to be when Susan Cox Powell was reported missing on December 7, 2009.  However, although that is where I will begin the story, that is not truly the beginning.  Some can argue that the story began when Josh Powell and Susan Cox were married in Portland Oregon in April of 2001.  Others, like myself, believe it actually started long before then, and began in the Powell household, possibly even generations before that.  But again we will start in December of 2009.  Things seemed odd that morning to the lady who lived down the street from the Powell's in West Valley City, Utah.  Neither Susan, nor Josh, had dropped their children off to her on their way to work that Monday morning.  She went down to their house and things seemed eerily quiet.  The daycare working had the number of Josh's sister, Jennifer Graves, who lived nearby and asked if she had seen the Powell's.  She had not and she and her mother went to the Powell home.  Throughout the day it was determined that neither Josh or Susan had gone to work, or had called in sick.  The police were called to the home and it was feared that possibly the family was inside, maybe dead from CO2 poisoning... who knew.  The police also did not receive and answer to the door and forced their way in.  No one seemed to be home. The police did notice that two fans were blowing in the front room on the carpet near a wet spot close to the couch.  They also found all of the families belongings including Susan's purse in the home.  There were no signs of Josh, Susan or their sons, four year old Charlie and two year old Braden.  There was one report that "Susan's" car was still at the residence but I am uncertain to the truthfulness of this account as I have read elsewhere, most specifically in Greg Oleson's book, that the Powell's only had one vehicle and it would later be discovered that Josh had that vehicle, a minivan.  Concern for the family was immediate by friends and family and while I am uncertain that official missing person's reports were made for the family there obviously were major questions authorities were looking for answers to right away.

Around 5pm Josh returned home with Charlie and Braden and seemed to be confused as to the police activity and concern at his house.  He was evasive, suspicious and contradicted himself right from the beginning. When asked where Susan was, he indicated that he believed she was at work.  When asked where he had been and why he had not gone to work he stated that sometime after midnight, the night before, in the middle of what many considered to be a snowstorm he had decided to take the children "camping."  When asked why he would do this on a Sunday night when he was expected to be at work the following day he claimed he must have gotten his nights mixed up, believing it was Saturday.  When confronted about if he had informed Susan of his plans and her reaction he claimed that he had and that she was fine with it.  

So let's take those pieces of Josh's initial statement and think them over... adding some other evidence.  First, let us give Josh the benefit of the doubt that he was confused on the day of the week it was.  That happens to the best of us from time to time.  However, it is unlikely that if he informed Susan of his plans as he said he did, especially in light of the fact that it seems they did only have one vehicle and Susan depended on Josh for a ride to and from work, that she would have also been mixed up on what day of the week it was.  By all accounts Susan was a rather responsible person.  Just the fact she had not gone into work raised huge red flags.  As a working mother she more than likely was preparing Sunday evening for the following morning so that it went smoothly getting two toddler's up, ready and prepared to go to the sitter's so she could get to work.  Also, by most accounts Josh was a very controlling person without bouts of anger, so despite what we can speculate as to what happened to Susan herself, we know, both by friends and even through Susan's own words through emails and journals that Josh was difficult.  It appears that she often walked on "eggshells" so it is highly unlikely that she would have confused the days.  Secondly, what kind of person decides to take two toddlers, who had apparently gone camping in the fall, when it was not nearly as cold as it was in December and were so uncomfortable they returned home, out camping in the middle of winter during a snowstorm, let alone make this decision sometime after midnight?  Then for Josh to say that Susan was fine with that decision does not sit well either.  By all accounts she was a good and attentive mother and despite his controlling ways I simply do not see her being completely fine with this idea as Josh proclaimed.  She would have at the very least tried talking him out of it even if she did not do so in a fierce way if she was scared of him, which she apparently was.

Investigators did not buy his story and even did a small search on his minivan where they found Susan's cell phone in the seat (some reports state her phone was found in the house but again this apparently was not true).  Once again "Mr. Evasive" did not realize it was there and had no idea how the SIM cards from both his, and Susan's phones were missing.  I have found nothing that says that they were ever found. However, as suspicious as they were, they did not have enough to keep Josh in custody and released him.  Nearby neighbors claim that after he left the station he returned home where he was seen outside, later in the night, cleaning the van out and detailing it. Never once, to the investigators, to friends, or to family did Josh seem at all concerned about his wife missing.

The following day, on December 8th Josh rented a car from the Salt Lake airport.  After putting more than 800 miles on the vehicle he returned it on December 10th.  Authorities were never able to determine where he took the vehicle or what he had done. Apparently while he was gone, although no-one did then or know no where he was, the home was searched on the 9th.  The home computer was seized and there were traces blood that was later determined to belong to Susan, and an unknown male. Authorities determined the male DNA did not belong to Josh or to Charles Cox, Susan's father, who they had samples to test against.  To my knowledge, they have never determined who the unknown male blood belonged to.

In the mean time there were searches being made to look for Susan. Some were done with authorities only, while others were organized by friends and family.  Josh participated in none.  One of the first places searched was Simpson Springs Campground where Josh claimed he took the boys camping.  Throughout the ensuring years many places, including many mine shafts in the area were searched but little to nothing was ever found.  Some of these searches were prompted by tips that were coming in.  The shafts were searched when a man named Scott Hardman told police that a year prior to Susan's disappearance he was at a Christmas party with the Powell's in which Josh had told him he "could kill someone and not get caught" and that he said he could place a body in one of the vertical mine shafts saying that they were unstable and would likely collapse more over time, hiding the body.  Although they did search and came up with nothing, the tip that prompted the search did not come out to the public for a few years.  Another tip that had come through came from a woman who said she had an affair with Josh, although she knew him by the name John Staley. She claimed that they had gone many places in the several month affair, some of them remote, to have sex.  She showed the authorities where these places were to which searches were conducted.  At one of those places the "sniffer" dogs, more likely cadaver dogs "hit" on some burnt wood but there was nothing definitive found.  Again, much of this information was not known to family, friends, or the public for a few years.  

On December 17th, ten days after Susan was reported missing Josh cleaned out her retirement accounts (I never found what the total of this was)and when asked why, he really did not have an answer.  By this time he had already retained an attorney and had become increasingly uncooperative with the investigation.  The day after emptying the accounts he left Utah and went to visit his father's house in Puyallup Washington. Susan's family lived in that town too. On December 24th the police officially named Josh a "person of interest" in the case, but that was not a surprise to anyone.  On January 6, 2010 Josh returned to Utah with his younger brother, Michael to pack up the family home and officially moved in with his father in Washington.  He claimed to people that he was moving so he had help with the boys and that he would rent the house out. Through my searches I was unable to find exactly what officially has become of the house other than the fact that it has indeed become a rental, although I am unsure who the official owner of the house is.  It very well could be part of the Josh and Susan Powell's estate that is now being held in trust and controlled by Charles Cox, but I cannot confirm that.  What I do know is that in mid-2014 a family moved into the home and remained there less than two months.  They claimed that they were not informed that it had previously been the home in which Susan Cox Powell disappeared from and also claimed that "eerie" things seemed to happen in the house.  Whether any of that is true is hard to tell.  One could quickly argue that although it was "rented" and not "bought" it sounds a lot like the "Amityville Horror" story that many believe was a hoax.  The "eerie" things this family claimed had to do with things like the garage door opening and closing on it's own and hearing strange sounds.  There were no claims of rooms full of bees or blood dripping from the wall... I want to insert a smiley face here.  That is not to necessarily say that I do not believe them completely.  It is quite possible that they were not told of the history of the house before renting and were informed by the neighbors.  I am not sure I would want to live in that house, solely based on that and would likely do what I had to to get out of the lease.  

If Josh thought moving in with his father in Washington was going to stop the speculation or the pressure on him he was sorely mistaken. Once there things got worse, not just for him, but for everyone involved.  At first Josh attempted to make it look as if he was a caring husband and even created a website that in theory was devoted to helping find Susan or at least keep her memory alive.  What it really became was a website in which the Powell family used to degrade Susan and attempt to build Josh up, or at the very least divert attention away from him.  It had the opposite effect.  Many of the comments posted were listed as "anonymous" but most believe that they were all done if not by Josh himself, then members of his family.  Josh's sister, Alina and his father Steve, were the most active on that site. 

Fairly early on in the investigation Steve was also questioned and thought to be a suspect.  He supposedly claims that in the beginning he thought Josh had done something to Susan but very soon became one of his strongest supporters.  Well, good for him I suppose but Josh really needed someone better in his corner because in the end, his dad made things worse for him in many aspects.  First, it was almost immediately discovered by investigators that Steve had made sexual advances to Susan over the years.  In fact, his behavior is what had prompted Susan and Josh to move from Washington to Utah.  Susan had been very vocal with her friends and family that she and Josh had lived with Steve for a while and that he had made many comments and advances to her and that she was very uncomfortable around him, nor was she thrilled with her children being near him.  For a time Josh had broken off most of his contact with Steve but over the years they had started communicating again.  Everyone who knew the story thought it was crazy, let alone disgusting.  What they did not know is that as horrible as Susan had described it, the reality of the situation was extremely worse. Steve had not just made unwanted advances toward Susan, he openly admitted, verbally and in his own journals that he was madly in love with her and was convinced she felt the same about him.  After he and Josh concocted a story trying to make people believe Susan had run off with another man, abandoning her children, Steve even writes in his journal that if she were to return, and maybe be pregnant, he would take her in and how they would basically live happily ever after.  On the other hand he was still helping Josh with the website they had created.  Apparently when Susan had Josh moved from his house to Utah some of their things were left and Steve had possession of journals written by Susan when she was a teenager.  I highly suspect that these journals were not simply left there, but were hidden by Steve and forgotten about when they moved. He began publishing things that were supposedly from the journals on the website, supposedly to show that Susan was not the "angel" or person that her family and friends (basically anyone against Josh or his family) made her out to be. It took a judge's order for him to stop "publishing" them online.  

On September 7, 2011 the authorities searched Steve Powell's home. Besides Josh and the boys, Josh's sister, Alina and his brother, Johnny, also lived in the house.  The search was said to be conducted to look for clues into Susan's disappearance.  They did not really find anything related to her but they did find several computers that contained child pornography and some videos of former neighbor children in various stages, including using the bathroom on things belonging to Steve.  He was arrested on the spot and Charlie and Braden were removed from the home.  The following day Charles Cox and his wife, Judy, filed for custody of the boys.  The Cox family was granted temporary custody of the children and Josh was granted supervised visitation.  Initially his visitation took place at a public facility as it was ordered that Josh could not take them in the home of his father, who was in jail. He eventually rented a nearby home so visitation could take place there. Authorities later claimed that they believe he never really lived in the house but only used it for his visitation and was still living in his father's home.  On February 1, 2012 there was another court date. Josh was convinced when he got there that he would be taking the boys home with him.  By this point the animosity between his family and the Cox's had grown to hatred.  The social worker who was supervising the visitations later stated she often had to stop Josh from discussing the Cox's with the kids because he was trying to turn them against him. Charles has stated at one point that Charlie said to him once "Chuck Cox is evil." When Charles asked him again what he said and point out his name was Chuck Cox, Charlie responded with "Well you should change your name because Chuck Cox is evil."  Obviously he had been told this by his father, but luckily he was too young to understand.  By the time they entered the courtroom on February 1st, some other things had come to light.  It was discovered that when his Utah home was searched in 2009 child pornography was also found on his computer.  A leading psychologist had looked over the images and given his evaluation to the judge.  Josh did not get to take the boys home that day.  In fact, he was ordered to do another evaluation, often called a "Peter test" in which a person is shown images and their sexual arousal is measured, as well as ordered to take a polygraph.  Most believe that Josh knew he could pass neither test and the likelihood of retaining custody of his children was slim.  

As the following Sunday approached, February 5th, and his first visitation since the court hearing, the Cox family reached out to many in authority expressing their fears of what could happen.  This was not the first time they had expressed their fears that Josh would harm the boys but they were always dismissed.  On the morning of Sunday February 5, 2012 when the social worker took the boys to Josh's home they ran up to the door ahead of her as usual and Josh was at the door.  As soon as the boys got in Josh shut the door and locked it, refusing to allow the social worker in.  She banged on the door and yelled to no avail.  She also says she smelled gas.  She called 911 and had trouble getting them to understand who she was and what she was reporting.  She also said she heard one of the children scream out.  Within just a few short minutes the home exploded into flames.  

It was later discovered that the day prior, Josh had withdrawn several thousand dollars from his account and had removed some toys and property of Susan's from a storage unit and had donated the items. A few weeks prior he had sent a letter to his brother Michael informing him that Josh had made changes to his life insurance, with Michael receiving the bulk of it and the rest of the over 2M to his sister Alina and brother Johnny.  He had also bought two 5 gallon containers of gas. Just prior to the boys arriving Josh had also sent out several emails and left a few voicemails that all but simply said "Goodbye." Once they were able to get into the house and autopsies were complete it was determined that each of the boys were hit on the back of the head with a hatchet, likely prior to the fire, although it did not appear that had killed them nor if it is known if that was Josh's intention.  Although it appears to have at least knocked them out and it is likely that Josh placed them on a mattress on the floor, placing their hands together.  One container of gas was spread throughout the home, including on top of the bodies of the children. It appears that Josh sat on the other one and was there when the explosion happened. He left no other notes or messages and never mentioned anything about Susan.

Obviously the Cox's...their friends and family, and even the country at large were in shock.  They were all also angry.  They could not understand how Josh was even given this opportunity; they could not understand how those boys had not been protected more.  Their only solace was in hoping that now that Josh was gone that his father, who was still in jail facing charges,  would give some insight into what happened to Susan.  That wish did not last long.  Almost immediately he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to talk to investigators.  There was no question as to what had happened at that home on February 2, 2012 or who was responsible.  That did not stop the investigation into Susan's disappearance however.

A year later, in February 2013 Michael Powell jumped to his death from a parking garage in Minneapolis Minnesota.  At the beginning of Susan's disappearance, although it seems all Powell's were looked into as to if they had at least helped Josh, or aided him later, most people believed that aside from sister, Jennifer, Michael was the most "sane" of the family and seeing as he lived outside the area was not very likely in helping Josh.  That did not mean that he was necessarily forthcoming with information against his brother but few thought he had actually helped.  In reality, without many knowing, Michael was more and more being considered as an active participant, if not in her disappearance, but the disposal of her body.  Most believe that his suicide resulted from the authorities getting close. He too did not leave a note or left any indication as to the location or his role involving Susan.  Over the last few years authorities had discovered that Michael had driven to Utah within days of Susan's disappearance and on the way back he claimed that his car had broken down in Oregon.  Although it obviously was not the best vehicle, instead of having it towed and repaired, Michael had it towed to a junk yard close to Salem, Oregon, but several miles from where he claimed to have broken down.  Michael assumed that the car would be "crushed." When authorities finally found out this information they went to the junk yard.  They found the car and although there had been pieces removed (likely sold through the yard) they were able to recover the vehicle.  Cadaver dogs were brought in and they did hit on the car but nothing was conclusive.  Michael was later interviewed and informed of the car being found.  Not long later he committed suicide.  It was also soon discovered that someone related to Steve Powell owned a farm in Salem and in May of 2013 that area was searched for Susan but no results were found.  Soon after Utah authorities announced that they were no longer looking at Susan's case as an "active investigation."  The one good thing about this was that now all their files could be made public and Charles Cox wasted no time in finding out everything the investigators knew.

There were several things, including the things with Michael, as well as the fact that Josh and Michael communicated through computer but was said to use such a sophisticated encryption program that even the FBI could not decipher it, as they had tried.  Authorities were convinced it was through this that Michael and Josh had discussed things about Susan.  They also discovered about the wet spot and the blood found in the home. But, most surprising there was an interview with Charlie just after Susan's disappearance.  He stated that "Mommy went camping with us but she stayed and did not come home."  At some point after living with the Cox's Braden had drawn a picture depicting their van.  He had placed three people inside the vehicle and told the Cox's that "Mommy is in the trunk." In the search of the home in 2009 they had also discovered a secret will drawn up by Susan in which she expressed her fear of Josh as well as a video tape she had created showing destruction of her property and some valuables in the home.  Although when she states the name of who did the destruction the audio is not clear, most presume she said the name Josh. Charles Cox could not understand why the boys were not interviewed more extensively. Nor could he understand with all that he considered undeniable evidence against Josh he was never arrested. 

Steve Powell eventually went to trial.  He was initially charged with voyeurism and possession of child pornography.  The judge threw out the pornography charges, saying the images found did not apply.  The state appealed those charges but until that was heard Steve was tried on the voyeurism charges.  They stemmed from video's taken of two neighbor girls dating back to 2007.  The family had long since moved away by 2011 and had no idea about the images until authorities found them and showed them.  He was found guilty and was sentenced to two years, of which he served ten months.  The family of his victims sued him in a civil court and  he was ordered to pay them 1.9 million dollars. He turned over his house, that he had not lived in since the day of his arrest to his victims as partial payment.  Obviously at some point both Alina and Johnny had also moved out of the home also.  The family of Steve's victims gave Charles Cox all access to the home In May of 2014, without restriction to see if there was any evidence pertaining to Susan.  He found many things that had belonged to Susan and to the boys. He also found a box of files that he hoped would help the authorities finally decipher the computer code that Michael and Josh had used in their communications.  There was also talk of cadaver dogs going to the home but my research did not yield any results from a search.  Upon his release from jail Steve was required to register as a sex offender, to take sexual deviancy treatment and to stay away from areas in which minors frequent.  In October of 2014 the state of Washington won their appeal and were able to re-charge Steve on the charges of child pornography. It was also reported that he had refused to undergo the court order treatment and it was recommended that he receive 60 days in jail for that violation.  I did not discover if he served that time or if he was already still in jail.  I was able to determine that at sometime prior he was found in violation for going into an area where minors were and served 9 days in jail.  If convicted on the possession of child porn charges he could face up to five years in jail.  There has been no indication from Steve, the prosecutors or even Steve's own lawyer that his behavior has or will change in any way.

In 2013 the Cox family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Washington State Department of Social Services for their failure to protect Charlie and Braden.  It was set to go to trial in September of 2014 but was delayed and i have heard nothing more on this except of course the state is arguing that they did all that they could and were not at fault.  They attempted to have the case dismissed but the judge was quoted as saying "The Cox's will get their day in court."  While I totally support the Cox's in this endeavor, I believe other agencies are just as at fault as social services, maybe even more.  The attorney for social services stated that they were ordered by a judge that Josh was entitled to supervised visits and a psychologist had approved them and they were simply following the judge's orders.  This is absolutely true, however, they did have more control as to where those visits took place.  Also there is a claim by Charles Cox that, while initially he had no idea where Josh lived he had followed the social worker from his home one day.  He claims that he sat behind the house and at some point the children were alone with Josh outside playing without the social worker present.  The social worker claims the only time he was alone with the boys was if she was using the bathroom.  However, in her own written accounts of the visits she had expressed frustration with getting Josh to focus on the children and not other things such as the Cox's or seemingly leading their thoughts in case they were questioned by authorities.  There was also the issue that had just come up with the latest court ruling pertaining to the child porn found on Josh's computer in 2009.  Either that information was not shared, like so much other information, with DHS or they knew and did not take it as seriously as they should have.  Adding to this is the fact that Charles Cox had repeatedly warned them and others that he felt Josh was a danger to the children, especially after his last court hearing and he was dismissed.

There is one other battle still brewing from all of this and of course, as the case is in many cases, this one revolves around money. Apparently there were several insurance policies.  A judge has already settled and ordered an amount of $756,000 going to the Powell family. It seems that mother, Terri and daughter Alina are the ones in the fight for it, although Terri possibly is representing the estate of her late son, Michael, who Josh had intended to get the bulk of his insurance money.  Most believe that Josh's intention was to sit on this insurance until he could legally declare Susan dead and then cash in on them. However, since the walls began to close in on him he chose the murder/suicide angle.  A judge ordered that the remaining $2.3M policy be put into a trust and that Charles Cox is in control of that.  He apparently made changes in 2013 that all but eliminated all the Powell's from benefiting.  Several months later Terri and Alina appealed and by the sounds of it the real reason they lost their case, even after an appeal, is that they waited too long to file, but none the less it sits in an account gaining interest.  However, that is not the end of it.  The battle for that money now lies with determining or declaring Susan dead.  By Utah law this was allowed in December 2014, although not mandated, nor does it appear that the Cox's are ready to do so, if for no other reason than emotional.  The Powell's have attempted to argue and have her declared dead "before October 2013" which is when they filed their appeal against the insurance money.  Apparently it is believed that if she was believed to be and officially declared dead before this time then the changes that Charles Cox made would be invalid and they would be entitled to monies.  As far as the Cox's are concerned they truly believe that Josh killed her in December of 2009 but without a body hold out hope.  Also seeing as she has not been found, no one can prove that she did not outlive Josh.  However, even if she did not outlive him it is quite possible that if they can prove his role in her death there is likely a law preventing from him, and in turn his family, from benefiting financially.  

Until I did my research I was of the belief that maybe the Powell's should have gotten enough money to obtain a burial for Josh so that no one else went into debt for that.  Although at the time the only two I considered worthy of that condolence was his mother and his sister Jennifer.  His father and his other siblings had spent their time protecting Josh, not the children, and even after continued to blame the authorities and the Cox's for Josh's actions. However, the fact that Terri, has gotten into this fight, as well as initially indicated the family planned to bury Josh next to his sons has changed that opinion for me.  They all backed down fairly easily on the burial thing.  Of course the community helped.  A local organization made sure to buy the plots on either side of the boys to prevent Josh's burial there, and there were plans to fight him even being buried in the same cemetery.  They eventually had his body cremated.  I wonder if they got a discount since he did half the work himself.... Ok, I know that was just wrong, even if it was true.

There are few doubts in anyone's minds that Josh Powell in some fashion killed his wife Susan Cox Powell on or around December 6, 2009.  There is also little doubt that at least Steve Powell, his late son Michael, and his daughter, Alina, likely know what happened and possibly where her body is located.  The entire truth as to what happened will never be known, Josh Powell made sure of that when he killed himself and the only two witnesses who could tell the truth.

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