Father-in-law of missing woman reveals 'flirtatious' relationship

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by KING 5 News and Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on August 26, 2011 at 8:20 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 26 at 3:08 PM

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- The father of a Puyallup man who is considered a person of interest in his wife's disappearance revealed more about his flirtatious relationship with his daughter-in-law, Susan Powell.

Steven Powell shares a home with his son, Josh Powell, and his two grandsons in Puyallup. Investigators searched their house and vehicles for hours until midnight Thursday for evidence in the 2009 disappearance of Josh's wife, Susan.

Steven Powell said investigators took about 2,000 pages worth of Susan Powell's journals. They also took pages from his personal journal, which he said he has mixed feelings about. He said it's embarrassing because in his journals, he talks candidly about the flirtatious relationship with his daughter-in-law.

"Maybe a year or two, a couple of years of her approaching me and being the one initiating things and trying to titillate me and get my attention and so on," said Steven Powell. "Yeah, I became very interested in her and I will say it probably developed into maybe an obsession, I admit, on my part."

"There were a lot of photographs and a lot of videos that I took of Susan. I believe they took all of them," he added. "I got home pretty late last night and I haven't really been able to take inventory, but I'm pretty sure they have those. Those will also show that Susan was a very much willing participant in our relationship."

Officials seized several computers while loading sealed boxes and bags into a mobile command center.

“We came here looking for specific things, and some of those things we’ve been able to find,” West Valley City police Lt. Bill Merritt said Thursday night, about six hours after investigators arrived at the house. He called the evidence collected “very, very important” to the investigation.

Josh Powell is the only person of interest in Susan Powell’s disappearance, but he has not been charged or detained. He was allowed to leave the area with their children as investigators went through the property.

Police said the plan to search Powell’s home had been in the works for a while—since before a recent search through abandoned mines in Nevada. A few investigators thoroughly examined a van in the driveway, looking through every CD, flipping through scraps of paper and examining under seats.

Investigators declined to discuss what pieces of evidence they gathered.

“What we have here today will help us draw closer to a conclusion,” Merritt said. “Whether it’s the conclusion that everybody wants and hopes for, we don’t know. It may be a conclusion that nobody wants to admit could happen.”

Josh Powell denied killing his wife or having anything to do with her disappearance. He has said his wife is mentally instable and that she left her family.

“I would never even hurt her,” a tearful, red-eyed Josh Powell told CBS’ Early Show. “People who know me know that I could never hurt Susan.”

Susan’s father, Chuck Cox, told the AP that his daughter claimed years ago that “something had happened” with Steven Powell that made her uncomfortable. He said she didn’t disclose the details.

“She said something about Steven had wanted her to be a common wife for him and Josh,” Chuck Cox said. According to him, when Susan discussed the remark with Josh, he dismissed it as part of his father’s penchant for saying outrageous things.

Chuck Cox said he believes his daughter’s discomfort with her father-in-law was part of what motivated her to move her family to Utah from Washington.

“She wanted as far away from him as possible,” Cox said.

Chuck Cox, who also lives in Puyallup, denies allegations in court filings by Josh Powell seeking a protective order that he has harassed or threatened his son-in-law and said he only wants to spend time with his young grandchildren.

A court commissioner in Washington state Tuesday ordered Chuck Cox and Josh Powell to keep 500 feet apart.

Chuck Cox has never said he believes his son-in-law is responsible for Susan’s disappearance, but wants him to be more forthcoming with police, who claim Josh Powell hasn’t been cooperative.

“If he can get himself cleared, that’s fine with me,” Chuck Cox said. “But he has obstructed the investigation of the police, he has refused to talk to them and there’s enough inconsistencies ... they have to look into it.”

Police say Josh Powell has refused to answer questions about a supposed midnight camping trip he said he took with the couple’s sons—then ages 4 and 2 -- in the mountains west of Salt Lake City the night before Susan Cox Powell was reported missing.

Susan Powell was last seen by her husband Dec. 6, 2009, in her West Valley City, Utah, home outside Salt Lake City. She was reported missing the next day when she didn’t show up for work.
 

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