Analysis: What Josh Powell's murder of his two young sons says about Susan Cox Powell's disappearance

Published: Monday, Feb. 6 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Further consideration might lead one to believe the motive was even less intuitive than fear of being discovered or even fear for his children's lives.

In the same JAAPL study, experts say, "The large majority (73 percent) of parents killed their children by shooting, including 7 (70 percent) mothers and 15 (75 percent) fathers. Other methodssometimes used in combinationincluded beating (10 percent), drowning in a car (7 percent), suffocation (7 percent), stabbing (7 percent), arson (3 percent), carbon monoxide poisoning (3 percent), and strangulation (3 percent)."

At only 3 percent, filicide-suicide by arson may have served another purpose. It was the evidence found on computers found in the Powell home that were, in part, the reason for Josh Powell's planned psychiatric evaluation.

Perhaps there was more evidence in the house that Powell intended to take with him to the grave, or perhaps it was his way of taking back total control of the situation from everyone — the police, the state, the Cox family or perhaps his father.

In another report by Deseret News reporter Pat Reavy, Powell was said to be controlling. Susan Cox Powell's best friend, Kiirsi Hellewell of West Valley told reporters, "Josh has always been about control. To him, the boys were his possessions. To him it was all about getting control back."

Why was a "person of interest" in a murder case allowed visits with his children?

Josh Powell had custody of the boys for nearly two years after his wife's disappearance, and it was only because his father with whom he and the boys lived was arrested that they were taken out of the home. According to the Seattle Times, Sherry Hill, spokeswoman for Child Protective Services, said the children were removed from Josh Powell's custody because of their grandfather, Steven Powell's, charges of alleged voyeurism and child pornography, not because Josh Powell was a person of interest in the Susan Cox Powell criminal case.

"If someone were expressing suicidal thoughts there would have been protocols in place," Hill said. "If there were concerns about the children being harmed we would have taken some action. We wouldn't have taken the children over there."

In another report on MyNorthwest.com, Stephen Downing, The Cox's attorney in the civil case indicated they were satisfied with the State's precautions.

"It was their belief," he said, "Josh had something to do with Susan's disappearance, and that ultimately he could harm the children. But they believed the state had listened to them and had taken appropriate measures to protect them. They don't know what more the state could have done."

Was Wednesday's psychosexual evaluation ruling the final straw?

In an interview between Seattle radio station KIRO and Jeffrey Bassett, Josh Powell's attorney in the civil case against the Coxes, Bassett said regarding the impact of the psychosexual evaluation on Powell, "I wasn't happy about the psychosexual evaluation because I thought there was a midpoint that could have been done that would have been a lot easier and not so intrusive or invasive by doing a polygraph with specific questions to show that these weren't images that he know about which would have put him out of the risk. But the judge ruled otherwise. We discussed appealing the order but I said the better thing to do was to just get started and get it done. I hadn't any inkling this was going to happen. I just don't know how to explain it. We had agreed between the department and me to a specific provider (of the evaluation) and things were being set up."

Was Josh Powell undergoing any prior psychiatric evaluation?

Further into the KIRO interview, Bassett indicated that Josh Powell had agreed to meet with a psychiatric counselor, but he did not elaborate or give names.

"That was something we had agreed upon, just having him see a counselor, just so that he could kind of unload with all the stress that he was going through," Bassett said.

Where is Susan Powell?

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