Attorney makes final plea for Susan Powell records

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 21 2012 10:18 p.m. MDT

Chuck and Judy Cox, left, look on as their attorney, Anne Bremner, right, talks following a Pierce County Superior Court hearing, April 24, 2012, in Tacoma, Wash. Bremner plans to ask the West Valley City Council Tuesday to release all Susan Powell police reports.

Ted S. Warren, AP

WEST VALLEY CITY — The attorney for the parents of Susan Cox Powell made her third and final plea Tuesday night to have police records released, this time in front of the West Valley City Council. But, she will have to wait a while longer before finding out if those records will be turned over.

After deliberating behind closed doors for less than an hour, the council decided it needed to review more case documents before making a final decision. The council has five business days to make a decision on the appeal.

Following nearly an hour of testimony from Attorney Anne Bremner and West Valley Police adviser Clint Gilmore, the council adjourned the meeting to begin their review of the request.

“We are as anxious as anybody to get to the bottom of this,“ said Corey Rushton, West Valley City mayor pro tem.

Bremner wants the West Valley City Police Department to release its reports regarding their investigation into the disappearance of Susan Powell. Powell has been missing from her West Valley home since December of 2009 and is presumed dead. Her husband, Josh Powell — whom detectives were investigating for kidnapping and possible murder — killed himself and murdered his two young sons in Washington in February.

Bremner has twice asked West Valley to release the records and has twice been rejected. Third District Judge Judith Atherton released redacted versions of search warrants and other reports two weeks ago. The majority of the information that was not redacted were facts that had been previously made public when officials in Pierce County, Wash., released similar documents.

Bremner said Tuesday's council meeting would be the last step before filing a civil lawsuit against the city for the release of the records.

Bremner has submitted several documents for the West Valley City Council to consider, so she expected Tuesday night's hearing to become an in-depth question and answer session.

She stressed victims' rights to the council, claiming that the argument of an "ongoing investigation" in the case of Susan Powell is invalid.

"I'm unaware of any ongoing investigation," she said. “I want to see what they’re really doing to investigate. Because if they’re not, then we should get the records.”

Countering Bremner’s arguments was Gilmore, who also serves as West Valley City’s assistant chief prosecutor. He maintained that the police department continues is actively examining leads and evidence pertaining to the case.

“They are absolutely actively investigating the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell,” he told the council. “This is an ongoing investigation that if these records are released would jeopardize our ability to pursue this case to the end.”

Meanwhile, the West Valley City Police Department released a statement Tuesday refusing to release any more information on the probe into Powell’s disappearance. The statement regarding the Cox Family appeal read:

“The West Valley City Police Department continues its investigation into the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell. The police department is aware the Cox family, through legal counsel, has requested the police department release case specific information. Because this investigation is currently active, it is the policy of the West Valley City Police Department not to publicly disclose details of an ongoing investigation. The Cox family appeal for the police department records is a legal matter for the West Valley City Attorney’s Office.”

Chuck and Judy Cox, Susan Powell's parents, want to know what West Valley police knew about the case and when — and in particular what — they knew about Josh Powell's possible involvement. They question whether police had enough information to make an arrest, which they say may have helped them find their daughter and would have prevented the tragic deaths of their grandsons Charlie and Braden.

Bremner met with Chuck Cox Tuesday morning in Washington.

"He's getting really frustrated with how everything has been so difficult all the way around from the get-go," she said.

Bremner has already put the Washington Department of Social and Health Services on notice that she and another attorney intend to file a $20 million civil lawsuit against them for alleged negligence in their supervision of Charlie and Braden.

Bremner, who also represents the two young girls who were victimized by Steven Powell in a voyeurism case, has also filed a civil lawsuit against Steven Powell, Josh Powell's father. He is currently serving a 30-month prison sentence after being convicted in May of 14 counts of voyeurism.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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