Josh Powell made 'admission of guilt' in wife's death, psychologist says

Father vows to keep looking for Susan Cox Powell

Published: Tuesday, May 21 2013 6:05 p.m. MDT

Investigators, however, said the DNA evidence collected from the trunk did not match Susan Powell's profile.

At one point, Michael Powell went to a Colorado company in Boulder — Apollo Mapping — seeking a high resolution image of the salvage yard in Pendleton, according to police reports.

Like his father and his brother Josh, Michael Powell refused to give his full cooperation to investigators, Quinlan said Tuesday.

"He was asked a very pointed question. He was asked, 'If you knew what happened to Susan, would you tell us?' And he said, 'Absolutely not,' and it was because he was bent on protecting his brother Josh."

Police said Monday they believe Michael Powell likely had "intimate involvement" in Susan Powell's disappearance. That announcement was a big surprise for Cox, he said, especially considering that his daughter had said she always thought that he was the "most normal" person on that side of the family.

"It's clear he was deeply involved in this, and it's a shock," Cox said Tuesday.

Bremner said her suspicions were raised when Josh Powell made his brother the 93 percent beneficiary of Susan Powell's $3.5 million life insurance policy.

On Feb. 11, 2013, Michael Powell committed suicide by jumping off a seven-story parking structure in Minnesota. No suicide note or will was found.

"What caused him to commit suicide? Remorse, guilt or the fact that people were closing in," Cox said. He believes Josh Powell's suicide was also an admission of guilt.

Powell confession?

In one police report released Monday, a forensic psychologist told investigators he felt Josh Powell made what he believed was “an admission of guilt” just two days before her murdered his sons and killed himself.

When Powell mentioned a need to reconcile with the Cox family, the psychologist told him the family believed he killed their daughter and unless she came back unharmed or her body was found and the evidence showed he couldn’t have done it, the doctor doubted reconciliation would be possible.

According to the report, Powell “paused while considering these two scenarios, and then somewhat rhetorically stated (that) reconciliation with the Cox family would not be possible." Josh Powell also was concerned that he would be asked questions related to his wife’s disappearance during an upcoming polygraph exam that had been ordered by a court overseeing custody of his children.

The psychologist also said that a voice mail Joshua Powell left for his sister right before he killed himself and his children, “in his expert opinion was an additional admission of guilt in the disappearance of Susan Powell,” the report states. “The statement Joshua made was about having caused hurt to someone and was made in the past tense. (The doctor) believed this was Joshua's attempt to apologize for what he had done to his wife.”

Why no charges?

Despite the mountain of circumstantial evidence, West Valley police reiterated Tuesday that they never had enough evidence to file criminal charges against Josh Powell — either for murder or even a lesser crime such as obstruction of justice — mostly because of a lack of a crime scene and because Susan Powell's body was never found.

"There are still those legal hurdles that we have to overcome in order to reach the point we can make an arrest and file charges," Quinlan said. "The evidence that we obtained over time was focused primary on Susan's disappearance and suspected murder by Josh Powell. We never reached the legal threshold to file criminal charges.

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