Police focused on Josh Powell's odd behavior from the beginning, new documents show

Redacted reports reveal little new info in Susan Powell case

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 7 2012 12:00 p.m. MDT

According to statements made by Josh Powell, he left between midnight and 12:30 a.m. that night to take his sons — who were 2 and 4 years old at the time — camping in Tooele County, about a two-hour drive from his house. It means he wouldn't have arrived until about 2:30 a.m. Temperatures were below freezing, and a snowstorm was in the forecast. He told police he wanted to try out his new generator.

Susan was reported missing the next morning when she failed to show up for work and her sons were not dropped off at day care.

The next cellphone contact anyone had with Josh Powell was about 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7, 2009.

The release of court documents Tuesday was part of an ongoing legal battle against West Valley police and the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office. Despite documents being released in recent months by the Pierce County, Wash., Sheriff's Office and the Washington Department of Health Services, West Valley police had been reluctant to release any court filings concerning their investigation, keeping their documents sealed despite continued efforts by the parents of Susan Powell, their attorney and the Salt Lake Tribune to have them released.

West Valley Police Sgt. Mike Powell said Tuesday his department did not oppose the release of search warrants, as long as it wasn't a "haphazard" release and done at the appropriate time.

"We don't have anything against police documents being released," he said. "It is a part of the process, information does get released. We're not opposed when it's an appropriate time and place."

Sgt. Powell also noted that his department still has an "active investigation" into Susan Powell's disappearance. That's why certain information was redacted, he said.

"(The information is) pertinent to a current and ongoing investigation. It contains information that now is not an appropriate time or place for it to be released. Anything that may create a conflict or interfere in that investigation is something we're not willing to do."

Asked what's left in the investigation to do, the sergeant noted that Susan Powell is still missing.

"That's a big piece of the puzzle that's not resolved," said Mike Powell, who is not related to Susan Powell.

Attorney Anne Bremner, who represents Susan Powell's parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, said the release of documents Tuesday was a good start, but still not enough.

"We want it all," she said. "Until we have it all, we won't quit our efforts."

West Valley had originally rejected Bremner's request for the city's police records regarding the Powell investigation. She appealed and was rejected again, and subsequently filed another appeal.

Bremner is now scheduled to appear before the West Valley City Council on Aug. 21 to argue in person why she and the Cox family believe the rest of the court papers that were redacted should also be released.

Chuck Cox said he believes arresting Josh Powell was the best chance police had to get him to come clean about what happened to his wife.

"I really felt the only way he was going to say anything, to reveal anything, was once he was under arrest and facing the consequences of whatever he did to my daughter," he said. "I thought it was a mistake to let him go, and let him go, and let him go, thinking his conscience was going to bother him sometime."

Cox also said he believes arresting his son-in-law in the weeks following Susan's disappearance would have saved the lives of his grandsons.

"If they had arrested him, we would have the children much earlier — within the first week or two weeks," he said. "There were so many things they knew. To us, they should have arrested him. Certainly, if he had been in jail, he wouldn't have been able to kill our grandchildren."

With each search warrant affidavit filed, West Valley police added more details about their case. The most recent search warrants contain the most redactions.

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