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Ted S. Warren, AP
Josh Powell, the husband of missing Utah woman Susan Powell, is surrounded by reporters as he leaves a Pierce County courtroom, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011, in Tacoma, Wash. Powell was attending a hearing regarding a motion for custody of his two children that was filed by his father-in-law, Chuck Cox.

PUYALLUP, Wash. — A Pierce County judge has ruled the childhood diaries of missing West Valley mother Susan Cox Powell cannot be released.

The judge ruled Friday that not only can the diaries not be released, but any copies previously released to the media or the public have to be destroyed.

Susan's husband, Josh Powell, along with her father-in-law, Steven Powell, sister-in-law Alina Powell and brother-in-law Michael Powell had sought to release the diaries claiming they might give insight into her emotional state when she disappeared in December 2009.

Chuck Cox, Susan's father, had fought to keep the diaries private. His attorney, Anne Bremner, argued that Susan Powell's journals were not a matter of public concern that outweighed her family's right to privacy.

While there has been public debate about what happened to Susan Powell, "this does not open the door to every intimate detail of their family lives," she argued in court documents. "The (Coxes) have a reasonable expectation of privacy, even where their daughter and her journal have become a topic of public interest."

"The private journal entries of Ms. Cox Powell are not of legitimate public interest and are not a public record."

After the hearing, Cox said he was pleased with the ruling.

"We do not believe they prove anything about her state of mind as a 28-year-old woman," Cox said of the diaries.

Prior to Friday's ruling, Josh Powell filed a statement this week in response to motions filed in court. In it, he stated that "helping her be understood is the best means of bringing her home."

But Powell raised questions about whether his wife was even still alive.

Josh Powell filed a 22-page response regarding the effort to block the diaries from being released. In it, he again states that he believes his wife ran away, and because of her "emotional instability" may have "committed suicide."

Powell also states there is no person by the legal name of "Susan Cox Powell." He claims the Cox family is using that name as a way to "divorce me from my wife."

"They say they did that because their daughter would not want to remain married to Josh Powell if she knew how he has 'impeded' the investigation into her disappearance," the court records state.

"I did not kill my wife. I have never abused her. I have cooperated with law enforcement in investigating her disappearance," Josh Powell said in court papers. West Valley police, however, have repeatedly said Josh Powell has not cooperated with them and that's why they consider him a person of interest in his wife's disappearance.

Josh Powell said because of claims made by Cox, his father-in-law has "created an all-out national media campaign against me, and in my view, Susan." He also claims that a purple ribbon campaign started by Cox has turned into a "harassment campaign" against him.

He said by releasing his wife's journals, it will show her "fragile state of mind" and "troubled emotional life" that continued from childhood to adulthood. That information is needed to bring her home "if she is still alive," Powell said.

After that hearing was completed, Chuck and Judy Cox filed their own petition, requesting custody of the grandchildren, Josh and Susan's two sons ages 4 and 6.

Susan Powell was last seen on Dec. 6, 2009. Late that night, Josh Powell said he took their boys camping on a very cold night near Simpson Springs, about 25 miles away from the Topaz Mountain area. Investigators continued to scour the desert around the mountain Friday before wrapping up that search after 12 days.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

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