Chuck Cox searches old Powell house; cadaver dog search next

Published: Monday, June 2 2014 5:35 p.m. MDT

Police serve a search warrant at Steven Powell's house in Puyallup, Washington, on Aug. 25, 2011. The house was recently purchased by the family of the two young neighbor girls whom Powell secretly photographed from his home. Chuck Cox, father of missing Utah mother Susan Powell, recently went through the home to uncover "traces of their story."

KING-TV

PUYALLUP, Wash. — Cadaver dogs may go through Josh and Steven Powell's old house as early as this week.

The house where the Powells used to live, 18615 94th Avenue Court East, was recently purchased by the family of the two young girls Steven Powell was convicted of taking nude and semi-nude pictures of from his bedroom window. The acquisition was made as part of the girls' civil judgment against him.

The girls' family has become friends with Chuck Cox, the father of Susan Cox Powell, the Utah mother who went missing in 2009 and is presumed dead. The Coxes and police believe her husband, Josh Powell, was responsible for her death. He was never arrested or charged in connection with her disappearance. Josh Powell killed his two sons and himself in 2012, not far from his father's house.

Josh and Susan Powell lived for a brief time in Steven Powell's house before moving to West Valley City.

The mother of the two girls recently allowed Cox to look through Steven Powell's old house. Gregg Olsen, the author of the newly released book "If I Can't Have You," about the Josh and Susan Powell story, was allowed to go with Cox.

"We found a lot of things that people would consider trash, and obviously the Powells did unless you knew part of the story, which was two little boys had been murdered and a young mother was missing. And we could see traces of their story in the house," Olsen said.

Among the items left behind, Cox found the sled Charlie and Braden Powell rode when their father took them out the afternoon before their mother disappeared. The boys' bicycle helmets and some of their toys were also found, in addition to some of Susan Powell's workout clothes.

"Susan was always trying to get back in shape, or whatever, to make her husband love her. She kept thinking, 'If I just slim down or if I'm pretty or something better, then maybe he'll pay attention to me, maybe he'll love me,'" Olsen said.

He said Cox has been going through the crawl spaces of the house and moving boulders in the yard to prepare for the cadaver dog search.

"He's literally turning every stone he can to find out where she is and if she's there. There's no real credible evidence she is there. There's just a belief that there's a possibility she's there," he said. "I don't want to put words in Chuck's mouth, but I do feel he thinks this is a necessary step in a long list of things he needs to do to find out what happened to Susan. And he's going to mark everything off his list. This is one more thing that needs to get done."

Cox also found a box of computer programs in the house that belonged to Josh Powell. When West Valley police confiscated many of Powell's computers when his wife initially disappeared, there were programs written on them in a code that to this day investigators have been unable to crack. Olsen said Cox plans to hand over the newly discovered boxes to a private investigator or someone who might be able to decode them.

"Chuck is a very strong and stoic man and has been on the hunt for his daughter's whereabouts for almost five years now. Everything (he found) just fueled him to find out what happened to Susan," Olsen said.

Steven Powell was released from prison earlier this year on his voyeurism convictions. He was not allowed to move back into his house, however, and the court ordered it be put on the auction block. Powell's daughter, Alina, and his ex-wife, Terrica, had been living in the house at the time it was sold.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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