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Unsealed warrants reveal new details against Josh Powell

Published: Friday, Sept. 4 2015 12:00 a.m. MDT

Josh Powell , the husband of Susan Powell, answers questions outside his Magna home on December 10, 2009.    (Laura Seitz, Laura Seitz, Deseret News) Josh Powell , the husband of Susan Powell, answers questions outside his Magna home on December 10, 2009. (Laura Seitz, Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

WEST VALLEY CITY — Search warrants unsealed Friday revealed many new details in the Susan Cox Powell case, including information that her blood was found in the couple's West Valley City home.

Police reported that they found her blood in the home she shared with her husband Joshua Powell and the their two children. The blood was found on a tile floor area near a sofa.

"Forensic tests of this blood indicated it was Susan Powell's," the warrant states.

In the warrants, police also outlined suspicious behavior by Josh Powell the day his wife was reported missing. The documents say Josh Powell last used his phone on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009, at 12:14 p.m. when he called his father, Steven Powell. Josh Powell's next mobile phone activity was not until Monday, Dec. 7, at 3:02 p.m. when a neighbor called and asked him where he was. Soon after, Josh left a voicemail message on his wife's cell phone asking if she needed a ride home from work.

In this pool photo provided by the Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., a melted gas can is marked with an evidence flag, Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, in the rubble of the home in Graham, Wash., where Josh Powell and his two sons were killed Sunday in what police said appeared to be a deliberately set fire. Powell's wife Susan went mysteriously missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009.  (Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., Ed Troyer, Pool, Associated Press) In this pool photo provided by the Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., a melted gas can is marked with an evidence flag, Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, in the rubble of the home in Graham, Wash., where Josh Powell and his two sons were killed Sunday in what police said appeared to be a deliberately set fire. Powell's wife Susan went mysteriously missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. (Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., Ed Troyer, Pool, Associated Press)

But the warrant states Susan Powell's cell phone was in the center console of the vehicle Josh Powell was driving. It was missing the digital SIM card and Josh Powell did not have an answer as to why his wife's cell phone was in the car. The phone had been turned off.

Josh Powell's sister, Jennifer Graves, called him at 5:27 p.m. that Monday and asked him where he had been. Josh Powell told her he had been at work.

"When Jennifer Graves told Joshua Powell she knew he was lying, Josh Powell then changed his story, telling her that he was camping," the warrant states.

Police made contact with Josh Powell through Jennifer Graves' cell phone at 5:45 p.m., but Powell didn't arrive at his residence until 6:40 p.m.

Police found a generator, tarps, a shovel, a gas can and blankets in the vehicle Josh Powell was driving, according to the warrant. He later told authorities he was testing out a new generator, that he thought it was Sunday and didn't call in to work when he realized it was Monday because he was afraid he would be fired.

In this pool photo provided by the Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., an investigator walks through the garage area, Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, in the rubble of the home in Graham, Wash., where Josh Powell and his two sons were killed Sunday in what police said appeared to be a deliberately set fire. Powell's wife Susan went mysteriously missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009.  (Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., Ed Troyer, Pool, Associated Press) In this pool photo provided by the Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., an investigator walks through the garage area, Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, in the rubble of the home in Graham, Wash., where Josh Powell and his two sons were killed Sunday in what police said appeared to be a deliberately set fire. Powell's wife Susan went mysteriously missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. (Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., Ed Troyer, Pool, Associated Press)

On Dec. 8, 2009, Josh Powell rented a rental car at the airport after police seized his family's van. When he returned it, it had 800 miles on it. He also purchased a new cell phone that was activated in Tremonton, the warrant states.

Days later, Josh Powell called the daycare provider for the couple's two children and told her the children were not coming back "and she probably will not ever see them again." He cancelled all of Susan Powell's future chiropractor's appointments and provided a power of attorney to Wells Fargo that allowed him to empty Susan Powell's IRA accounts."

The search warrants contain other information, including:

• West Valley police said the crimes of murder, kidnapping and obstruction of a pubic servant occurred on Dec. 6, 2009 in West Valley City.

• The last phone call made or received from Susan Powell's cell phone was at 2:29 p.m. on Dec. 6, 2009, when she called a friend.

This pool photo provided by the Pierce Co. Sheriff's Dept. shows the charred remains of the home of Josh Powell, husband of missing Utah woman Susan Powell, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012 near Frederickson, Wash. Days after a judge ruled against him in a child custody hearing, Powell and his sons were killed when police said he appeared to intentionally blow up the house with all three inside — a tragic ending to a bizarre case that began more than two years ago when the man's wife went mysteriously missing in Utah.  (Ed Troyer, Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., Pool, Associated Press) This pool photo provided by the Pierce Co. Sheriff's Dept. shows the charred remains of the home of Josh Powell, husband of missing Utah woman Susan Powell, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012 near Frederickson, Wash. Days after a judge ruled against him in a child custody hearing, Powell and his sons were killed when police said he appeared to intentionally blow up the house with all three inside — a tragic ending to a bizarre case that began more than two years ago when the man's wife went mysteriously missing in Utah. (Ed Troyer, Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., Pool, Associated Press)

• Police state that their investigation revealed the couple was having marital problems and that Josh Powell "was the beneficiary of several life insurance policies" totaling $1.5  million on Susan Powell.

• Police also found a safe deposit box containing a letter Susan Powell had written to her family dated January 2008 that she did not trust her husband and that "if (she) dies it may not be an accident, even if it looks like one."

She asks in the letter that if something were to happen to her, Graves should be contacted.

• One month after Susan went missing, the couple's oldest son, Charlie Powell, told a primary teacher "my mom is dead." He told another that his mom went camping with them, but didn't come home. He did not know why.

• Police were seeking journals belonging to Susan Powell and digital media that could be related to Susan Powell's disappearance. The journals detailed the couple's marital strife beginning in 2005 through to a final entry on Oct. 26, 2009. The woman wrote about Steven Powell beginning in 2002.

Ken Landgrebe lights a candle next to photographs of Susan Cox Powell and her sons Braden and Charlie, during a candlelight vigil at McKinley Park in Tacoma, Wash., Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, the day after Braden and Charlie Powell were killed along with their father, Josh Powell, when police said Josh Powell set fire to the house they were in on Sunday. Susan Powell went mysteriously missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009.  (Ted S. Warren, Associated Press) Ken Landgrebe lights a candle next to photographs of Susan Cox Powell and her sons Braden and Charlie, during a candlelight vigil at McKinley Park in Tacoma, Wash., Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, the day after Braden and Charlie Powell were killed along with their father, Josh Powell, when police said Josh Powell set fire to the house they were in on Sunday. Susan Powell went mysteriously missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. (Ted S. Warren, Associated Press)

"Susan states how she does not want Steven Powell involved in her life, her children's life and how she wishes Joshua Powell would eliminate Steven Powell from his life," the warrant states.

Attorneys for Steven Powell appeared in Pierce County Superior Court Friday asking to  have the search warrants served on Powell's house and vehicles unsealed. Their motion went uncontested and the hearing lasted only a minute.

The motion was to unseal search warrants served on the Puyallup home of Steven Powell and his son, Josh Powell, in August of 2011, and a subsequent search on Sept. 17, 2011.

Steven Powell's defense attorneys say the evidence collected from the Powell house should be thrown out because the search was unconstitutional, calling the effort by police nothing more than a "random fishing expedition style search." The initial search was conducted by West Valley police who traveled to Puyallup, Wash., to search the Powell home as part of their investigation into the disappearance of Josh Powell's wife, Susan Cox Powell.

Josh Powell, center, the husband of missing Utah woman Susan Powell, leaves a courtroom, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011, in Tacoma, Wash., after a judge awarded temporary custody of Powell's two sons to Susan's parents, Chuck Cox and his wife Judy.  (Ted S. Warren, Associated Press) Josh Powell, center, the husband of missing Utah woman Susan Powell, leaves a courtroom, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011, in Tacoma, Wash., after a judge awarded temporary custody of Powell's two sons to Susan's parents, Chuck Cox and his wife Judy. (Ted S. Warren, Associated Press)

A hearing on the motion to toss out the evidence is scheduled for April 23. But in order for attorneys to argue the validity of the search warrants, they have to be available in open court.

Steven Powell's trial is scheduled to begin May 7.

Powell, 61, has been in jail since September when he was charged with 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of possession of materials of minors engaged in explicit conduct. He is accused of taking pictures of two neighbor girls, then ages 8 and 10, through an open window into their bathroom without their knowledge in 2006 and 2007.

Susan Powell has been missing from Utah since 2009. Josh Powell murdered his two young sons and then killed himself by setting his rental home in Graham, Wash., on fire earlier this year.

The charred rubble of the home where Josh Powell and his two sons were killed Sunday, in Graham, Wash., in what police said appeared to be a deliberately set fire is shown, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012.   Powell, the husband of missing Utah woman Susan Powell, died along with his children Sunday in Washington. An autopsy showed the children also suffered hatchet wounds to their necks. He was a person of interest in his wife's 2009 disappearance.  (Ted S. Warren, Associated Press) The charred rubble of the home where Josh Powell and his two sons were killed Sunday, in Graham, Wash., in what police said appeared to be a deliberately set fire is shown, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. Powell, the husband of missing Utah woman Susan Powell, died along with his children Sunday in Washington. An autopsy showed the children also suffered hatchet wounds to their necks. He was a person of interest in his wife's 2009 disappearance. (Ted S. Warren, Associated Press)

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