UPDATE: A judge has ruled that Josh and Susan’s Powell’s kids will at least temporarily be given to Susan’s parents. That came after a hearing yesterday in which more of Steven and Josh Powell’s sexual weirdness was revealed. See update after the jump…
Josh and Susan Powell with their kids — before Josh decided to make their mother go away
from her suburban Salt Lake City home in December of 2009. Her husband
Josh claims he took their two kids camping in the middle of the night in
You may recall the long, sordid story of Susan Powell. She disappeared
When he returned his, wife was gone.
Josh never showed much interest in finding his wife during the massive searches that followed. He soon lawyered up and stopped talking to detectives. Then, while the searches were still on, he abruptly decided to pick and move in with his dad in Puyallup, Washington.
Susan has never been found.
But over the past two years, Josh and his dad, Steven Powell, 61, have been doing their best to smear Susan’s name. They’ve long implied she was essentially a slut who ran off with another man. Steven has even gone so far as to say he had relations with his daughter-in-law.
Of course, none of these images jibe with those who knew Susan and say she was little more than a kind-hearted mother and stockbroker who did her best to raise her kids despite being married to a shitbag of a husband.
Recent searches for Susan have still come up empty. But at least Steve Powell is now getting his due from karma. He was arrested yesterday for filming sexually explicit images of Susan, other women and girls as young as 8 without their knowledge.
Though details are sparse, it seems Steve was a voyeur who used hidden cameras to capture women undressing and using the bathroom. He’s also accused of shooting film of little girls through the windows of neighbors’ homes. Police found discs with videos labeled “Neighbors,”
“Taking bath-1,” “Taking bath-2,” and “Open window in back house.”
He’s been charged with 14 counts of voyeurism
and one count of possessing depictions of minors engaged in sexually
explicit conduct. (Special thanks to reader Jude for the tip.)
Sandy Crain Anderson met Steven Powell 13 years ago when they began seeing each other at meetings for lapsed Mormons. She as a single mom at the time, and she even spent Christmas at Powell’s home in 1998.
But she would only begin to see his creepy side three years later. During a visit to his Puyallup, Washington home, Steven decided to show her his porn collection. It was a rather odd move, seeing as they never dated. But either way, Sandy didn’t get much a look. She told him she really didn’t want to see it.
As the years went on, Steven began to tell her how obsessed he was with his daughter-in-law. When Susan and his son Josh Powell were first married, they lived with Steven in Washington.
“He was hung up on her sexually, it seemed,” Sandy told the Salt Lake Tribune. “He’d talk about trying to see under her clothing, see her
breasts. Even back then, he had this idea she was flirting with him.”
He’d even stolen her special Mormon underwear from the dirty clothes pile.
Steven didn’t seem to care that Susan was married to his son. As Sandy continued to him each other over the years, Steven would talk about his love for Susan. Sandy dismissed the issue as more infatuation than anything sinister.
It wasn’t until a month after Susan disappeared that Sandy finally discovered that she was the woman Steven has obsessed over all those years. She called police in West Valley, Utah to tell them about the weirdness. While she talked to a detective for an hour, nothing really became of the information.
Steven, meanwhile, was insisting that Susan was mentally imbalanced and had decided to run away with another man. Police aren’t buying that theory. But Steven also told Sandy that he was happy that detectives never discovered his porn cabinet when they originally searched his home. It also contained the journals Susan wrote as a teenager.
Steven himself may have pushed the envelope too far this summer when he began to claim that he and his daughter-in-law had an affair. Last month, detectives once again raided Steven’s home, this time finding his porn collection — and videos of his peeping tom activity with the neighbor children.
Steven’s pleaded not guilty to the charges.
So says Kiirsi Hellewell, one of Susan’s best friends. In her blog, she writes that Josh and Susan moved in with Steven early in their marriage so they could save money for a new apartment. We’ll let her tell the story:
“She said that early in her marriage to Josh, when they were still
newlyweds, they wanted to save money to get their own apartment. So
they moved in for a short time with Steve Powell.
At the time, there wasn’t an extra bedroom for them. So they
converted a dining room into their bedroom and hung a curtain over the
opening for privacy. Shortly after moving in, Susan began to feel very
strange around Steve Powell. She said that she felt like her
father-in-law was looking at her inappropriately–and once she even
caught him trying to watch her get dressed one day.
She tried to give her new father-in-law the benefit of the doubt, but
the weird feelings and things continued, and one day it culminated in a
very inappropriate episode where Steve Powell tried to kiss her. This
was not a “family” kiss. This was a romantic kiss.
Susan was so creeped out, disgusted and horrified that she told Josh
“That’s it, we’re moving out. NOW.” And soon after that, they did.
Josh and Susan would move to Utah to get away from him and get closer to Josh’s mom and sister. One day Steven sent her a package that he said contained photos of her favorite actor. But when she opened it, she discovered that her father-in-law had sent her a batch of male porn.
That’s when she told her husband that Steven would never set foot in their house.
It also seems that Steven’s porn collection nabbed by police was worse than originally reported. Though the cops have yet to go through everything, what they have found was scary enough to remove Josh and Susan’s two kids from the home.
On Wednesday, a judge will entertain a petition by Susan’s parents seeking custody of the boys, who are now 4 and 6.
That came to light at a custody hearing for the Powell children yesterday. Assistant Attorney General John Long said a whopping 15 computers were seized from the Powell home, and that Josh may have been part of a father-son team collecting child porn.
Police say they’ve found thousands of photos and videos of women being filmed without their knowledge. That includes Susan Powell and “many minors.”
There are so many, in fact, that detectives have only been able to go through about 10 percent so far.
At the hearing, Josh claimed that Steven wouldn’t be allowed to live with them if he kept the kids. But Long told a judge that Josh is also under investigation on the porn charges.
A judge placed the kids with Susan’s parents, Chuck and Judy Cox,
after finding that Josh and Steven Powell’s home was just too weird.
Police say they’re concerned after Josh admitted to child welfare workers that he took photos of women’s legs without their knowledge. They were further worried that his brother, who his has mental issues, also lives with them. Police say the brother once answered the door naked when they came calling.
Inside the home they found a hangman’s noose and a poster of a woman being stabbed.
Josh tried to urge a judge to place the kids in foster care, since he doesn’t trust the Coxes. But since that would have been an asshole move, the judge decided otherwise. Josh will get supervised visits on Sunday because he doesn’t want the Coxes taking the kids to church.
But judging by the words of Josh’s sister and mother, it would be hard for him to claim that he didn’t know Steven was a pervert. His parents actually divorced because Steven’s sexual obsessions.
According to files from the 1992 divorce, Steven began showing the kids books about intercourse when they were just 6 and 8 years old. His wife Terri claimed Steven kept hardcore porn in the house over her objections.
Jennifer Graves, Josh’s estranged sister, says that when she accompanied Steven on a business trip when she was 11, he watched a porn video with her in the room. She believes Josh is responsible for Susan’s disappearance.
“I think he’s responsible for his wife’s disappearance,” she told KOMO-TV. “More than ever, I’m convinced that (the boys) shouldn’t be with Josh,
and they certainly never should have been with my dad.”
See our past stories on the Susan Powell case here.