Police were watching, listening to Josh and Steven Powell, unsealed warrants show
Investigators wrote at the time that they believed the use of a grand jury in the case would not result in "any new information or evidence," an affidavit states.
At one time, police also considered using a female undercover agent to "initiate an acquaintance relationship" with Josh Powell in an attempt to gather information from him. But it was determined that Powell's movements were "unpredictable or nonexistent to the point that a seemingly innocuous meeting is not possible," according to an affidavit.
Investigators noted that there were times after Josh Powell moved back to Washington that he didn't leave his Puyallup residence for days.
When talking about their "case strategy" for using the wiretap, police focused on three phones — two cellphones used by Josh Powell and one by Steven Powell — even though two of the phones were registered in Alina Powell's name, according to the affidavit.
Investigators then came up with ways to try and prompt the Powells to use their cellphones and talk about the case, including using Chuck Cox, Susan Powell's father, and the media.
Cox placed banners and fliers all around his hometown of Puyallup, where Steven Powell also lived.
"(The West Valley detective) believes that this overt display of material within (Steven Powell's) residential area can incite evidentiary conversations between (Josh and Steven) related to Susan Powell's disappearance," investigators wrote.
West Valley police then planned on "a release of information" to the media that "the investigation has revealed new areas of interest to be searched based on evidence obtained through forensic testing," the court documents state.
The affidavit for the wiretaps was signed Aug. 9, 2011. On Aug. 18, 2011, West Valley police announced to the media that a search would be taking place in Ely, Nev. At the time, police made a vague reference to the media that the search was based on "information from a prior search warrant."
West Valley police said this week, however, that all of the areas they searched in the case were legitimately chosen based on evidence that was collected and were not wild goose chases.
Police were required to update the court about the use of wiretaps after 10, 20 and 30 days. Information about what was specifically discussed in those intercepted conversations was not revealed in the court documents.
The 30-day report on Steven Powell's cellphone showed that police had intercepted 244 calls and flagged 37 of them as "pertinent." One of Josh Powell's cellphones had 194 intercepted calls with 30 flagged as "pertinent," according to court records. The other had 221 intercepted calls, as of the 30-day report, with 18 flagged as "pertinent."
After law enforcers filed for a 10-day extension on the wiretap, the number of calls on Steven Powell's phone was recorded at 252, with 61 being called pertinent. Josh Powell's phones on the 10-day extension showed 220 intercepted calls on one phone and 403 on the other, with 42 and 62 being called "pertinent," according to court records.
Another wire was used early in the case in January of 2010, about a month after Susan Powell disappeared. Jennifer Graves and her husband agreed to go to her father Steven Powell's house in Puyallup, where Josh Powell had recently moved. She agreed to wear a hidden microphone and confront her brother, whom she believed was involved in Susan Powell's disappearance. A team of 16 officers was waiting outside the house nearby. The effort was called "Operation Puyallup."
After entering the house, Graves eventually got Josh Powell alone and encouraged him to take a plea bargain, a police report states.
"Don't be ridiculous, I haven't done anything," he responded. Pressed about an unexplained trip he took in a rental car and about details the day his wife disappeared, Josh Powell told his sister his attorney had advised him not to discuss the case.
Steven Powell then opened the door and in a "very pushy" manner told Josh he needed to go pick up a birthday cake. "It sounded and appeared that Steven had an idea of what Jennifer was doing and he was trying to help Josh get away from the situation," the report states.
"Where did you put her?" Graves then asked her brother.
Josh Powell responded, "I can't believe you're saying that."
Weeping, Graves stated, "You were cleaning the house." Josh Powell didn't answer but remained quiet. He then stated, "I have to go get a cake."
After Josh walked out, Graves told her father she thought it was obvious her brother was responsible for Susan's disappearance. Steven Powell responded that she had "a problem seeing reality." He then implied that a family in Utah had kidnapped Susan.
An argument ensued and Graves and her husband left the home. They returned to police, and a weeping Graves told them: "(Josh Powell) killed her. She's not alive."
Contributing: McKenzie Romero
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