For almost ten years, detectives from West Valley, Utah have been trying to find the mother of two, Susan Powell who disappeared without a trace.
Here's the backstory:
Susan Powell is a 28-year-old mother of two sons, Braden, and Charlie (ages two and four at the time of her disappearance). Her friends described her as being a really loving and friendly person. She was a loving and phenomenal mother. They also described her as being very selfless and would do anything for anyone. She met her husband, Josh Powell, at a Mormon church function and they fell in love, tying the knot soon after meeting and moving from Oregon to Utah. Josh Powell seemed to be the complete opposite person compared to Susan.
Josh had a rough childhood growing up, with records of his father being abusive and showing very inappropriate things to Josh at a young age. Apparently, at one point, it is said that he tried to commit suicide but didn't end up doing it. Later, he is said to have run around the house with a butcher knife and chasing his mother because she asked him to do the dishes. For the first few years of marriage, their relationship was viewed as a picture perfect relationship. Everyone thought they were the perfect couple and their family was super close. This obviously turned out to not be the case.
Susan's childhood best friend, Darleen, claims that Susan said Josh was abusive, stating that he thought she was his property and claimed he owned her. He believed that she had to do whatever he wanted her to do. She also said that Josh would take away his love from her and keep it from her. Susan would try and tell Josh that she was going to leave him and he would threaten to keep the kids, saying things about how the children were his and she couldn't do anything about that. He pretty much was alluding to the fact that she would never see her boys if they separated.
Terrible, I know. Not only where they have romantic problems, but they were also struggling financially. Which puts a ton of stress on both people involved in the relationship. This could cause more hatred, pressure and probably even blaming each other for why they are having so many issues. Eventually, in April of 2007, Josh had filed for bankruptcy. It has also been said that Josh had been gambling and cheating on his wife prior to her going missing.
Susan Powell talks about her life and possessions www.youtube.com
Before her disappearance, she made a video showing all of her and Josh's belongings (shown above) which people thought was super strange and bizarre. Some people thought it was made just in case anything were to happen to her and Josh. In the video you can hear her making slight digs on Josh saying things about how he used her credit to buy all of his things after he had filed for bankruptcy or how he couldn't do any projects on his own, she always had to help. I just think that after everything that happened, this video was extremely eerie.
On December 6, 2009, Susan was seen attending church with her two little boys. The next day, she failed to take her children to daycare and didn't show up to work. After she didn't take the children to the daycare, the people working there actually called Josh's sister because she was listed as an emergency contact. The sister went to their house and knocked on the door several times, never getting an answer. She decided that she was going to call the police and once arriving on the scene, they made the decision to break through the door and enter the house, worried that maybe someone was hurt inside. Upon entering, the quickly realized the house was empty but saw Susan's cell phone and purse still inside. In the house, they noticed two huge box fans pointing towards the floor like it was trying to dry a spot. His sister claimed that the carpet looked freshly washed hence why the fans were there.
Eventually, Josh told police that he had come back from taking his boy's camping at Simpson Springs campground (which police later investigated and found no evidence of a crime), leaving around midnight on December 7th (I know very weird... don't worry, it gets worse) and returning to an empty house. He said that Susan decided to stay back at the house while they went on this very impulsive and random camping trip but when he returned, she was nowhere to be found.
Not only was this whole situation very fishy, but it took Josh two days to tell Susan's family of her disappearance. They also said that he didn't seem concerned or sad or even progressive in trying to find where she was. Automatically, they thought this was a major red flag. Right off the bat, detectives were suspicious of Josh and assumed he had something to do with his wife's disappearance. I mean honestly, who goes on a camping trip out of nowhere at midnight in December in Utah. It's gonna be freezing and icy. Despite their gut feelings and intuition, the police didn't have enough evidence or proof to support that Josh REALLY had anything to do with her disappearance.
Then, Josh randomly decided to pick up and move away to Washington. You would think that if your wife was missing you would stay in the same spot so in case she were to come back she would know where to find her family or you would stay to help find her. He moved in with his father, Steve and was still trying to convince the public that he had nothing to do with her disappearance.
Diaries: Steven Powell lusted after daughter-in-law www.youtube.com
Fast forward to the summer of 2010, when Braden and Charlie are at summer camp. Braden was said to have drawn an image of their minivan, Josh, himself and his brother, Charlie, but his mother was nowhere to be found. When asked where Susan was in the picture, he said that she was in the trunk. Braden said that he remembered both of his parents getting out of the car but only his father coming back. His brother Charlie had said the same thing. One time, he even told his teacher that his mother was dead. Police decided this STILL wasn't enough evidence to arrest him and he continued to live his life.
While living in Washington, Josh and his father tried to make it seem like Susan was mentally ill or that she had run away with another man who had gone missing a few days after her. The only problem: He went missing in Las Vegas, miles away from where Susan was last seen. So obviously, the public thought this theory was a load of crap. After this, Steve (Josh's father) starting spreading rumors about how she made sexual advances towards him and she asked him to touch her leg after she had just waxed them. Steve even made a song that was put on his website that is believed to be about Susan and their relationship. Not only was all of what they were saying bogus, but Susan's family also said that she thought he was terrified and wanted to move away because she was so creeped out by him. It is said that he would put his hand up the back of her shirt, which is just so inappropriate... obviously.
Eventually, investigators decided to search Steve's house and they said they found thousands of pictures of Susan that she didn't even know were taken, including close-ups on her body parts. Steve was later arrested for child pornography and voyeurism (watching someone without their knowledge). Once investigators knew about this, Josh lost custody of the children and they were temporarily put into foster care. This is where Susan's parents come in to (try) and save the day.
September of 2011, the boy's grandparents gain custody of the children and Josh is only allowed to have supervised visits. At first, he is only allowed to see them in an approved facility with supervision but then the judge changes it to at home supervised visits (big mistake). The children were given a caseworker, Elizabeth and they thought everything was going to be okay.
During this whole time, Josh avidly was trying to get full custody of the children. Of course, nothing was going to go his way and was going to lose complete ownership of his children if he didn't take a psychosocial test after disturbing pictures that he had drawn were found. Obviously, he didn't like what they had to say and he started to lose his mind. He had withdrawn 7,000 dollars from the bank and filled a few five-gallon cases with gas.
One day before they decided to go see their dad, Braden and Charlie told their grandparents that they didn't want to go see their father. The caseworker, very confused, said that they always had a good time when they were with Josh and nothing had ever gone wrong. Susan's parents then said that Josh had tons of fun things planned and they were going to have a good time seeing their father. Not a good choice. Elizabeth didn't know this but on the way to go see Josh, he had actually sent an email to his family saying "I'm sorry, I love you" and had left voicemails for his family explaining that he is unable to live without his sons and that he can't go on anymore. This sent red flags, obviously, to his sister, causing her to immediately dial 911 and try to explain the situation.
Upon arriving at Josh's house, the boys jumped out of the car and ran to the front door, something they always did. The only thing this time is that when Elizabeth was about to enter the house, Josh weirdly looked at her, shrugged and slammed the door in her face and locked it, making it to where she wouldn't be allowed inside. While standing outside, banging on the door to be let inside, she heard Josh tell Charlie that he "has a big surprise for him" while Braden started to cry. Later they would find out that Josh was apparently attacking his sons with a hatchet and this is when she started to smell gasoline.
She called 911, but the 911 dispatcher was insanely disrespectful and didn't understand the severity of the situation. He pretty much wasted so much time, and time was everything they needed in this situation. The dispatcher hung up but before she could call 911 again and talk to a different one, the house had already exploded and it was up in flames. Unfortunately, no one had survived. Everything Josh did in this situation pretty much confirmed to the public, police, and families that Josh had something to do with Susan and her disappearance.
Josh Powell 911 Call Made By the Social Worker Audio Only! www.youtube.com
In 2012, it was revealed that seven days after Susan had gone missing he had
1) withdrew the children from daycare
2) canceled Susan's routine chiropractic appointments
3) ended her retirement fund and
4) spoke to a coworker about how to hide a body, specifically mentioning an abandoned mine shaft located in Utah.
Shortly after the case was closed, Susan's will was found and in the will it allegedly says
"I want it documented that there is extreme turmoil in our marriage. If die, it may not be an accident, even if it looks like one."
Rest in peace to the beautiful, young souls of Braden and Charlie Powell and of course the selfless, amazing mother of the two boys, Susan Powell.