Where is Mommy? The Susan Cox Powell Story
Welcome to true crime. Recaps the only podcast bringing you all the crime in half the time with double the you're not gonna believe they shit your host the one you'd call. If you had to. Hi body, Amy Townsend when the killing stops. She's just getting started. Hey, girl. So I don't know about you. But when the oxygen channel said they were going to air the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell on may fourth and fifth. I was all it, but also super impatient and wanted to get the cliff notes Berge of this case right away. So I am assuming that you are just as impatient to hear murder details and home my God. You have got to hear this. This case starts in two thousand nine and basically continues in one way or another until twenty eighteen and I was oh m gene all the way through the time line. And I guarantee that you are going to freaking freak when you hear this. This case is seriously game of thrones level, crazy beyond Susan's disappearance. We've got her husband. Josh who everyone agrees is very strange from the beginning. We've got his totally fucked perverted father, Stephen who was obsessing. About Susan the entire time. She and his son were together, we are talking collecting her hair, stealing her underwear. Taking secret pictures of her and writing more than twenty three hundred pages about her in a freaking diary level of obsessing. Okay. We have a missing mother Susan, and we have the eventual murder suicide of Josh and their two little boys. Charlie in Brighton. Oh and Stevens eventual arrest for child pornography in a legal Boyer ISM. Oh, yeah. And another murder unrelated, but possibly related to the Powell family murders. But maybe not s-. I'd either way it's very strange, but let's get into this. Because I want to keep it within thirty minutes. We've got a lot to cover. All right here. We go. Let's go way back in time to nineteen Ninety-two. When Stephen and Terry Powell parents of one sixteen year old Josh Powell divorce and a bitter court battle drags, Josh and his four siblings. Jennifer, John, Michael and Alina through bitter court battles with Terry saying that Steven was abusive and showing Josh porn when he was a little kid and all manner of scumbag ary and for his part, Stephen was like, you're nuts. You once left the house in your underwear, which I mean what? But even if she did since when is that a crime as opposed to abusing your kid with violence and porn mean any case Terry had finally had enough and got out of this horrible twenty year marriage. But not before Josh killed his sister's gerbils, try. To hang himself and threatened her with a butcher knife. When she asked him to do the dishes eight years later in two thousand and one twenty five year old Josh met nineteen year old Susan at an LDS church event. Now for those of you who did not grow up in Utah, Idaho, or Washington LBS means Mormon because the Mormon church there Mormons may met impure wallop Washington and in two thousand and one they got married. Quick shout out to my single girls. A I know it's tempting to hear something like this and say even a fucking gerbil killer can find someone to marry him. And I can't and to you. I say he dies in the end, and you have much higher standards in gerbil Keller, and you will find someone that you won't eventually murder. So no, more negativity. Now at first Susan, Josh, we're happy they're holding hands hugging kissing each other. They appear to be the perfect couple, and how many frequent times that we heard that. And it's usually followed by until he killed her. And this is no exception. But we're not there yet. I we have to talk about what made them move from Washington to Utah now right after they got married, Josh and Susan were living with his father, Steven Powell. In puyallup. It was then that Stephen developed this obsessive infatuation with her and it didn't help that. They're all living in really close quarters together. Basically, he would follow her around the house with a fucking camcorder, which was usually trained on her or her chest or something and got a completely say it. He used a small mirror to spy on her while she used the bathroom he stole her under. Aware from her laundry. He read her journals and even kept a sex diary of his own and feel twenty three hundred pages with his fantasies about her and things he saw her doing. It's insanely sick in two thousand three he told her he wanted to fuck her and marry her. And of course, she was like, no, thank you. And when she told Josh about it. He basically said that she was making it all up, and exaggerating it and his dad said that she was coming onto him. And the whole thing is very hashtag metoo, except she couldn't exactly report the guy to human resources since it was her father in law. So instead she and Josh moved to west valley City, Utah to get away from him Josh's mother and sister, Jennifer lived in west valley city, so they had some family there and Josh had a business degree from university of Washington in Seattle, and he worked I. A lot of companies, but strangely he couldn't keep a job and Susan had a cosmetologist license, but she worked as a broker for Wells Fargo. She was basically the breadwinner, but Josh controlled her and the money to the point where we've for it. She wasn't even allowed to buy new socks. But instead Josh told her to knit them. Yeah. This is what a fucking crazy situation looks like, but we're gonna get there because there are so many W T f moments in this story. I try not to just scream them all out. And instead take this in chronological order, but don't worry gonna keep it to thirty minutes because you have got get off that stairmaster soon. Right fast for it. A couple of years to two thousand and five and Josh is getting worse and more controlling and Susan has got to be wondering just what? In hell, she is doing with this guy. But then she got pregnant for the first time, she went into labor with their son, Charlie and get this Josh told her to ask her parents to take her to the hospital because he had to finish something. I what was that? Something you ask and wittily the child's crib? Papery in the house in rose pedals for her return. No he had to back up his hard drive. He showed up at the hospital two hours later, despite this insane behaviour Susan didn't demand her parents start divorce proceedings on her behalf while she was busy giving birth. Instead, she Josh had another son. Brayden two years later in two thousand and seven also that same year. Josh vile for bankruptcy with over two hundred thousand dollars in debt. This guy was spending money like. Saddam hussein. And meanwhile, Susan had to get his permission just to use the family car and get this anytime he gave Susan money for like groceries. She had to look through a spreadsheet of adds to find the cheapest prices on things then when she went shopping she had to come home and enter every single item into that spreadsheet. And if she spent more than a couple of cents on a can of beans like more than what the coupon said it was worth Josh would yell at her and getting -gree. So, of course, her friends were like divorce him, but she was worried about what do you do to her and the kids if she tried to leave him mainly because he thought of the boys like his possessions and Susan taking away his things was not going to go over. Well, and it didn't as we'll see later in the story. But obviously Susan thank God was not a complete sister wife, and according to her. She is definitely thinking about divorce at this point, especially because his insane spending is really need her credit since he took out cards in her name and the knee max them out. So that two hundred thousand dollar debt is not just his it's Hearst to and the fact that it even exists is making it harder for her to try and get away from him and start a new life. So in July of two thousand eight Susan made a home video on the advice of a divorce lawyer. So that she could have a video record of the things Josh bought using her credit in case she needed that recording later, or if you tried to sell them, and she she wanted to file for divorce so along with that tape, she wrote a secret will that said, I want it documented that there is extreme turmoil in our marriage, and if I die it may not be an accident. Even if it looks like one. What girl please? If we can learn anything from Susan it is that if you're at the point of making secret wills and letting people know that if they come across your dead body, and it was definitely not an accident. You need to grab the kids. Grab your purse and go go to your parents house get on a greyhound go as far as your money will take you just go that is what Susan what tell us now. Because of course, as you can guess the next on our time line is the disappearance on the morning of December six two thousand nine Susan and her two sons went to church, Josh hadn't really been active in the church with them since like two thousand six at this point. He kind of goes in and out of church and a friend stop by her house to see her that afternoon, but Susan told her she wasn't feeling well and she needed to take. A nap apparently Josh who rarely cooked had made pancakes for dinner, and she was feeling ill and tired after eating them because they were fucking poisoned. Right. The next day, December seventh the daycare called Josh's mother and sister when the kids didn't get dropped off as usual. They couldn't get a hold of Susan or Josh. So the two women go to their house to see if anything was wrong, but no one is answering the door. So they called the police. The police broke into the house thinking, maybe the family had been victims of carbon monoxide poisoning or something like that. But no one was inside. But there were two large box vans blowing on a couch that felt damp to police. Josh said later that the couch had been cleaned before they went camping, and he was drying them with these fans. So that's totally bizarre. Again. Obvious. No one is in the house, but Susan's purse wallet and ide- where there and she didn't go into work that morning at later that day run five Josh comes back with the two boys. And he goes to the police station for questioning here's some audio from that interrogation. What do you think is out to her? I need to tell me what you think is over. On her own. I told you the dress. Few times jobs silent anything say can will be used against him. Quarter flow tech of just interview children. And your children telling ours tempers that with you last night. And it's you come back. Yeah. Probably about it for. As in your wife is missing job. But I want to think about it for a couple of days already everything culture you answer. So Josh claims that he left around midnight with his sons at that time they were four and two years old to go camping eighty five miles away from home in freezing temperatures and Susan was fine with that. And in fact, he claimed Susan had been sound asleep when they left she was probably asleep. But most likely in the trunk of his car the police found blood evidence on a tile floor near the dam sofa and forensic testing revealed the blood belong to Susan Josh was asked to submit his cellphone for forensic testing. But before he handed it over he secretly removed the sim card and activated a new phone in Tremont in Utah. It's like more than eighty miles away from where they lived K a little over a week after Susan SIS. Disappearance the police named Josh a person of interest. They seize the family minivan and found her so phone in the car he could not explain what it was doing there around that same time. Josh went to their Bank with a power of attorney form, and withdrew all of the money from Susan's IRA accounts. And he also cancelled her future, chiropractic appointments, which was actually quite conscientious of him. I mean, I can barely remember to cancel my appointments ahead of time much less canceling appointments for the people I've murdered. But of course, during all of this Josh kept claiming he had no idea where Susan was. And then about a year later, he suggested that she might have run off with a guy named Steve coacher. Now, there is no evidence that she even knew Steve. But weirdly, he went missing on December thirteenth after driving his car twenty one hundred mile. To Henderson Nevada and basically walked away from it and vanished into thin air Spokane crazy investigators later learnt both Josh and Susan had taken out one million dollar life insurance policies on themselves with two hundred fifty thousand dollar writers on each of their children. And that Josh been telling people that to get away with murder. He would hide a body in a mine shaft in the west desert of Utah about a month after Susan disappeared on January eighth twenty ten. Josh took the boys and officially moved back to you up to live with his father, again Joshua's, sister, Alina and his brother John also lived in the house with them. So you know, that's gonna go about as well as you would expect. This is a good place to talk a little bit more about Joshua's, totally fucked up dysfunctional family from hell, so let's th. Art with his father, Stephen a sick fuck to put it mildly. Take a listen to this video the oxygen channel put together talking about Stevens obsession with Susan. It's truly unbelievable. Steven Powell was narcissistic, very self absorbed out of touch with reality. He was under the impression that anytime. He was with Susan or sauces, and she was hitting on him that she was interested in him. He did that for me. Got a. He was infatuated with her worshiper just turns me on perpetual state of tournaments. She's around. Video her he would be inside of his band in video her walking to and from buildings. I had to get a picture of this tryst of useful back here is insecurity loan to. Evening in Susan too. Stevens obsessed with her Stephen had journals about her. Stephen had pitches per. Stephen Moore pictures of himself with her so. Probably do some pretty. Some people think through wayward. Here are the panties pick to Susan's artery. Smell. So nice. I think she's the most beautiful thing than ever want to yours progressive league. It's worse and worse and worse would line has had to this actually on her body. Somebody looked at this case. And they only looked Stephen Powell. Pretty sweating. I think they would be quick to say he was responsible for disappearance. And he didn't stop it. Susan. He also had pictures of the little girls who lived next door to him undressing. I mean, he was charged with fourteen counts of Boyer ISM. And one count of possessing an image of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Anyone to jail for about seven years. He died of a heart attack in twenty eighteen about a year after he'd gotten out of jail. No after Stephen was arrested. Josh temporarily lost custody of his sons they were sent to live with Susan's parents Charles and Judy Cox. Although Josh was still allowed to have supervised visitations with them several times a week since that makes total sense. But before we get to that we have to talk a little more about the other members of Josh's family, his brother, John who was also living in the house had apparently been seen nude and wearing a diaper by. Social services on several occasions. He yeah, let that sink in for a second. And in his room social worker said he had a hangman's noose and gallows set up as well. As a poster of a woman with a sword in her genitals coming out of her stomach what a great environment for little boys in Josh's sister Alina who was also living. There always insisted that Josh was innocent this expert excerpt excuse me from a video she made to prove the innocence of her family is a good example of her bizarre denial and crazy brainwashed tone, the police arrested pollens timber twenty second in us that arrest is rationale to take Josh's children from him instigating, a kangaroo court custody battle that ultimately caused the death of my brother nephews. I noticed how she glosses over the fact that her brother took a hatchet to his kids, and then blew up their house in a double murder suicide. But before we get back to the main timeline, I have to tell you about Joshua's brother, Michael about a year after Josh killed his kids and himself. His brother Michael killed himself by leaping from a parking garage in Minneapolis where he was going to grad school police have been trying to link him to Susan's disappearance and said they believed he was heavily involved in disposing of her body sighting of flurry of calls between the brothers and encrypted messages. And apparently they had set up a fake Facebook account, and we're patrolling find Susan groups on Facebook to try and find out if people were maybe getting close to finding her and even planting stories about her like that she was mentally ill and she'd maybe run off with us Steve guy. So that's Michael, Jennifer Josh's. Other sister seems to be the only person in the family that's halfway normal. She even went to police an offer to wear it wired. See Josh or even her father Stephen would reveal anything about Susan that did not go well and Steven ended up jumping into defending Josh kicking Jennifer out of the house run girl run. So that is Joshua's family. Now, let's get back to the time. So it's February fifth two thousand twelve and just four days earlier, Josh lost another custody hearing to get his voice back. If you recall, they were taken out of his custody after his father got arrested for child pornography in twenty eleven and they've been living with Susan's parents and Joshua had supervised visits apparently police found some questionable images on some of Josh's computers in that raid, and he's had. To undergo some psycho valuations. Oh, and he's still a person of interest in his wife's disappearance. But. Yeah. Of course, you should be able to get his kids back. Right. Well, thank God. He couldn't. But unfortunately, he was still out to see them which brings us to that day. That'd be wary v a social worker at named Elizabeth Griffin hall had been taking the boys at this point. They're five and nine years old to visit Josh for the last three months. She gets to his house for a scheduled supervise. Visit the boys run ahead of our into the house. And by the time this social worker got to the front door. Josh had locked her out of the house. She said he caught my eye his shoulders were slumped. He had a sheepish look. He just shrugged his shoulders and slam the door. And right before he slammed the door in her face. She heard him say to the boys that he had a big surprise for them. Then she smelled gasoline and heard one of the boys crying. So she. Called nine one one. Here's how that call went. And I warn you you're going to want to fucking scream when you hear this. So of course, I had to play for you. Because I really wanted discuss this take a listen. Hey, I want to provide taken for quoted get that. And something really weird has happened. The kids went into the house in the parent, the biological parent whose name is Josh Powell will not let me in the door. What should I do dry? It's eight one one nine, and I think eighty nine I don't know what the idea. Working for me to know. I can't let me get my car, and I can. And find it. Nothing like this ever happened before. -cation? So I'm really. And I could hear one of the kids crying. But he still would want the end. Okay. It is. One. I have it here. Can't find me by. Okay. It is. It. That I hit I need help part away. On apparent FHFB's p p after been involved, and if the pace thing he looked tried out in the door. I just waiting to know where you are. Okay. Eight one one nine one eighty nine eight court to Alec ninety seven five. And I'm like to pull out of the driveway. Now, get the end. Wanna pull out of the driveway gasoline? But he won't let you won't let me in and move on to grab one in the house. Won't let me and to provide. Visit I understand how is it. Powell you don't live there right now. I know I'm fine. Talking to the state to divide to provide the Bettega. Okay. And who is there to exercise visitation? I am. And if it is with Powell. Who has been I who provide supervise Andrew doing the visit. I can provide I provide my stuff on fifth of is it here. Wait a minute. Supervised. Visit. You can't provide yourself. Typifies to provide. Okay. Well, aren't you the one the one making the visit or underpayment Super Bowl? I know the provides I picked up a hit the grandparents. And then who visit with the children. How? Okay. You to be there to supervise Josh Powell visit with the children that. And how to depend nipping towel Heiko. File. Hey, how did he how did he came to the children before you? I was one step in back of them. Okay. Okay. Yeah. At the door right in like, pay or your. My name is. Aw. Paul hyphenated. Yeah. Never. Phone number is three zero nine nine zero nine nine five five. And what with? Carrie network and the kids this been in there by now. Hen minute. And he knows. Visit to Brayden is five and Charlie seven. How W E L O U L L NFL. Yeah. Fake game is Dr. Why? Quite. I don't know about thirty nine. By Ken hundred and fifty pound. Color. On notice with wearing. I think that could you wearing. It alone. Or I don't know. I couldn't get in the house. Even the ical now or on I'm in the echo. I'm gonna Prea on. Ten prea-. That he won't have been opened the door him. I rang and everything. Let me on my question. What color is the Toyota Prius. They and the license number. I don't know. Seven five of the eight. Mary henry. Yeah. Somebody look for you there. Okay. How long will it be? I don't know, man. They have to respond to emergency life threatening situations. I the first available deputy. Life threatening. He went to court on one, Dan, he kids back, and this is really I'm afraid for their live threaten the life of the children previously. I have no idea. All right. The billable deputy contact you. Thank you. So that co- is about six minutes long locks show that it took eight minutes for that nine one one dispatcher to send a police car and another thirteen minutes for the police car to get to the scene by which time the house was already on fire the nine one one operator said later, quote, no one could have predicted. What happened quote, you know, who could have predicted what happened the person who fucking predicted what happened the cut Tim social worker? Elizabeth Griffin hall. So it's not an F that year in emergency situation and through some miracle you managed to call nine one one. But then you need to convince the person on the other end that you actually do need help. Why are I one one operators always such assholes? Of course, as we now know what was happening in the house while that nine one one call was going on was that Josh used to hatchet. To try and kill his two sons before nine cans of gasoline that he'd had preset around the house before they got there. Unfortunately, autopsy results later confirmed that he didn't kill them with the hatchet. Hey, just wounded them and smoke inhalation is what Benchley killed them. It was later discovered. How much planning Josh had put into this murder suicide a couple of days before their visit. He gave the kids toys to goodwill and a surveillance picture showed him withdrawing cash from an ATM the day before the murder suicide. Oh, he used the money to buy five gallon gas cans to set the house on fire and minutes before the fire. He said emails to his family and lawyer saying, I'm sorry goodbye. And in at least one Email he wrote that he couldn't live without his boys. So apparently, they shouldn't be allowed to live without him. Now Josh was never charged in connection with his wife's disappearance. And to this day Susan remains missing. Although in January of this year, a private search team plan to re examine an abandoned mine shaft in Utah's west as near the place where Josh said he took the boys camping in two thousand and nine when she disappeared. And over the years police have searched for hundred mineshafts in Utah, Nevada with no luck. And that's that. If he wanted dive deeper into this case, as I know you must want to and there's another podcast cult cold that did an entire season on the inside outs of this case, you can find it at the cold podcasts dot com. And in the meantime, ladies sleep with one eye open because it is always the husband until next week. We know you have a lot of murder Sasol's. Thanks for taking thirty minutes to catch up with two crime recounts. If you like to show, please show your support with five stars and written review. Let's keep the conversation going. 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