Susan Powell disappeared from her West Valley, UT home a year ago. A quick recap: nobody outside the family saw her after early evening. She appeared ill after eating the dinner that Josh (her husband) had cooked. She retired early. Josh packed up their kids and went camping (he says) at about 12:30 AM. It was a Sunday night. He says he thought it was Saturday.
When the kids didn't show up at day care that Monday morning, and Josh and Susan didn't show up at their jobs, somebody sent the police around to the house for a welfare check.
Susan's personal belongings were all there...purse, cellphone, keys...but there was so sign of her. A call to Josh elicited the information that he was on his way home from camping with the boys. Some stories have it that he drove around town for a while after he got back, before he checked in with police at his home. He said he was looking for her.
In interviews with media, he made no appeal to people to find her, and he never went out with any of the searchers.
As the days went on, he stopped talking to the media. He had never expressed much interest in whether she might have been kidnapped, apparently assuming that she had just walked away from her home, carefully locking the door with all her things inside (including keys), during that snowy Utah night.
A month or so later, he rented out the house, packed up and moved in with his father, brother and sister in Puyallup WA. He has never cooperated with the investigation into Susan's disappearance.
He started up a nasty purple website: SusanPowell.org. At first, it was all about what a good husband he was to put up with her eccentricities. Even when trying to sound positive about her, the early posts were filled with subtle digs at Susan and her family.
Recently, the gloves have come off. Over the past couple of months, Josh has added pages trashing Susan's mother and father and his own sister. His father, Stephen Powell, may be partially responsible for the site, and is certainly responsible for this nine-page manifesto, which he (reportedly) sent to all the police involved in the investigation, including the FBI. The document details his theory that Susan ran off with a man who was reported missing within a week or so of Susan's disappearance. Stephen managed to say negative things about Susan, her parents, her friends, her sisters, the missing man and his family, and his own daughter. Everyone in Susan's life and a few who she probably never met get thrown under the bus in this document. Be sure to read the footnotes.
We have seen it in other cases we follow--this phenomenon of a suspect's family members attacking the victim, her family and associates. Scott Peterson's family said negative things about Laci, and Scott's supporters on the message boards continually tried to implicate Laci's sister, mother and step-father in the crime, coming up with all sorts of disgusting scenarios to explain the putative motivation. Jason Young's friends and supporters did the same thing to Michelle's family, trying everything they could think of to cast suspicion on her mother and sister and draw it off Jason. Scott Peterson now languishes on Death Row, and Jason Young awaits trial, so we have seen how well this tactic works...as in, not at all.
Still, this really takes the cake! Stephen Powell allowed his "letter" to be published on the internet, and sent it to law enforcement agencies. This is not John Goins saying, "Ain't gonna be no trial," over and over, ad nauseum, on any message board that will allow him to post. This is making baseless accusations against innocent people directly to law enforcement.
I guess that gated community in Puyallup doesn't keep out suspicion...too bad it also doesn't keep ugliness from escaping.
I'm sure there are friends and family of Susan who would be thrilled to think she had just run off for a year-long fling, and will walk in the door tomorrow, but after a year, that seems unlikely.
Stephen Powell thinks he is diverting suspicion from Josh, but in reality, all he is doing is providing possible motive for murder.