Another volley fired in volatile Susan Powell case

Published: Monday, Jan. 30 2012 9:44 p.m. MST

Josh and Susan Powell with their two young boys, who have since been temporarily living with Susan's parents in Puyallup, Wash. Susan Powell has been missing since December of 2009.

(Photo: Courtesy Cox family)

SALT LAKE CITY — Another shot has been fired in the volatile case of missing West Valley mother Susan Powell — this time from the brother of her husband Josh Powell.

A website called 4thekiddzz was launched by Michael C. Powell just days before a custody hearing for the couple's two young sons who live with their maternal grandparents, Chuck and Judy Cox in Washington.

Michael Powell is accusing the Coxes of willfully "maiming" one of the boys and says the house is in a "state of emergency" and the children are in imminent danger.

"These children were willfully ripped from the safe and loving home they lived in with their father and were intentionally placed in an abusive household," where one of the boys has been subjected to repeated abuse, the site alleges.

The site includes a string of links to documents and news stories and says the police have bungled the investigation, while child protective service workers have ignored the children's peril.

"It doesn't surprise me because they're going to try and do stuff to take the eyes off them and put it on somebody else and make themselves look a little better," said Jennifer Graves, Josh and Michael Powell's sister, who reiterated she wants the boys to continue to stay with the Coxes. "They're trying to make Josh look better so he can get his kids back, obviously."

On Wednesday, a Pierce County Superior Court judge is scheduled to hear an update in the custody case involving the two boys, now ages 7 and 5. The two have been living with their maternal grandparents since last fall when they were removed by child protective services workers from the care of their father, who moved to Puyallup, Wash., a month after his wife disappeared.

Susan Powell has not been seen since early December 2009 when her husband, Josh Powell, said he left their home to take the two young boys on a camping trip in the west desert of Utah. Josh Powell is the only person of interest police have identified in the case.

In 2011, after Josh Powell moved to Washington to live with his father, Steve Powell, the older man was arrested on suspicion of child pornography and voyeurism. Police say they found images of women who had been videotaped without their consent, including Susan Powell. He has pleaded not guilty, with a trial set for March.

The website is the latest ugly and emotional turn amid an ongoing criminal case that has pitted individuals in families against each other and spawned multiple civil lawsuits, including one by the Coxes against Josh Powell for another website.

Graves said her brother Michael's website with its allegations of abuse against the grandparents and incompetence against the police department is tiresome, annoying and simply a smokescreen.

"They're trying to make it sound as if the Coxes are somehow bad guardians and that the West Valley Police Department hasn't been doing their job properly," she said. "Once you actually start analyzing it, it really doesn't hold water."

E-mail: amyjoi@desnews.com, Twitter: amyjoi16

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