Susan Powell’s Husband, Josh, & Children: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

josh powell

Police/missing person\'s Josh Powell (l) and Susan Powell (r)

An update in the disappearance of Susan Powell may give answers in the mysterious case. The Utah woman has been missing since December 7, 2009 when she vanished from her home.

The latest news in the case stems from a mine search in the west desert of Utah, according to Fox 13 Now. Evidence was collected and sent to a Salt Lake City lab.

20/20 is revisiting the case with a special update tonight, February 18, 2022 on ABC at 9 p.m. Eastern time. The show first aired November 13, 2020.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Powell’s Husband, Josh Powell, Killed His 2 Sons & Himself in an Explosion

During a scheduled supervised visit between Josh Powell and his sons, Charlie and Braden, Susan Powell’s husband killed his children and himself. The boys were ages 2 and 4. When a social worker arrived with the boys, he pulled the children inside and slammed the door in her face, according to an appeal filed in a Washington state circuit court.

The social worker pounded on the door until she smelled gas. Then, the house exploded. Josh Powell and the boys died from carbon monoxide poisoning. A secondary cause of death to the children were “chopping injuries.” Police believe he attacked his sons with a hatchet before the fire, according to The News Tribune.

During the 24-hour period before Powell killed himself and his sons, he gave away their toys and books and made a series of goodbyes through phone calls and letters. He also filled two five-gallon gas cans with gasoline, according to The News Tribune.

One of his last phone calls was to his sister. He left a voicemail, saying, “This is Josh. I’m calling to say goodbye. I am not able to live without my sons, and I’m not able to go on anymore. I’m sorry to everyone I’ve hurt. Goodbye.”


2. The Couple’s Oldest Son Told Police Their Mom Went Camping With Them & Didn’t Come Home

When Josh Powell was questioned by police in the disappearance of his wife, he told them he took his young sons camping the night before. Police were immediately suspicious of the story because the temperatures were subzero the night he said he went camping with the boys.

Their older son later told police their mother was also on the camping trip with them, according to The News Tribune..

He said “his mommy went camping with them although she did not come back home with them and he did not know why.”


3. Susan Powell Wrote a Letter to Her Family & Friends in June 2008 Saying Her Husband Threatened Her & She Feared for Her Life

Susan Powell addressed a letter to family and friends in June 2008, which said her husband had threatened her and she feared for her life. The letter said Josh Powell threatened to “destroy her” if she divorced him, and warned that if she dies “it may not be an accident, even if it looks like one.” She kept the letter in a safe deposit box, which only she could access.

Susan Powell and Josh Powell filed for bankruptcy in 2007, with nearly $200,000 in debt, according to The Charley Project.

A friend visited Susan Powell for lunch on December 6, 2009, the day before she went missing. Nothing seemed abnormal, according to The Charley Project.

“According to her friend, Susan was behaving normally at the time and only said she was tired and wanted to nap before dinner,” The Charley Project reported.


4. Josh Powell’s Dad, Steve Powell Was Convicted of Child Pornography & Had Tapes Containing Images of Susan Powell

Steve Powell

MugshotSteve Powell.

In 2011, Police were conducting a search for information into the disappearance of Susan Powell when they found images of child pornography in the home of Steve Powell, Josh Powell’s dad. The children in the images were his former neighbors and the pictures were taken through windows. Steve Powell was convicted and sentenced to serve three years in prison, according to an appeal filed in his case.

“On August 25, officers from Pierce County and Utah executed the search warrant on Powell’s home. They seized computers, hard drives, discs, a camcorder, videos, and notebooks during the search. One disc seized from Powell’s bedroom contained numerous photos and videos carefully cataloged into folders. One such folder was titled ‘Neighbors,’ which contained subfolders titled ‘Open Window in Back House,’ ‘Taking Bath-1,’ and ‘Taking Bath-2,'” the appeal said.

Powell was sentenced to 30 months in prison. He was later sentenced on an additional charge, and sentenced to 60 months in prison to run concurrently with his previous sentence.

Police found an entry in Powell’s journal, which said, “I enjoy taking video shots of pretty girls in shorts and skirts, beautiful women of every age. I sometimes use those images for self-stimulation.”

Also during the investigation into Susan Powell’s disappearance, police found a journal that belonged to Susan. She wrote that she believed her father-in-law was a pedophile.

As police collected thousands of images of child pornography depicting girls as young as 8 in Steven Powell’s home, they also found images of Susan, according to The Charley Project.

“Interestingly, Steven had earlier claimed Susan was ‘a very sexual person’ and that she had wanted to have an affair with him, but Susan’s family said the opposite was true and Susan and Josh had moved to Utah in part to get away from her father-in-law’s unwanted sexual advances,” The Charley Project reported. “One of Susan’s friends said she told him Steven had spied on her while she was dressing and, after she moved to Utah, she told Josh she never wanted to allow Steven inside their home. Josh admitted he was aware of his father’s fixation on Susan. In her journals, Susan wrote that she thought Steven was a pedophile and a bad influence on Josh.”

Read more about Steve Powell here.


5. Josh Powell Was a Suspect in the Case But His Death Left Susan Powell’s Family & Friends Without Answers

Susan’s best friend, Kiirsi Hellewell, told Fox 13 Now in February 2022 that she is still waiting to learn what happened to her friend.

The evidence collected from a Utah mine in February 2022 include bones, a pair of pants that may be women’s pants, and other clothing scraps and trash, according to Fox 13 Now.

“It was a pretty emotional week last week,” Susan’s best friend Kiirsi Hellewell, told the news outlet. “Lots of back and forth. Is it her? Is it not her? Have they found a clue Susan’s disappearance?”

She told the news outlet she has been waiting for years for closure but that she is trying not to be overly optimistic that answers are close.

“I saw the pants myself, I touched them. I looked at them closely and I think that they were a pair of women’s dress pants. Why would someone throw a pair of women’s dress pants down to mine?” Hellewell told the news outlet. “I am trying not to get my hopes up. Because I’ve spent many hours crying over the last couple of weeks thinking, ‘Is this her? We really found her.’ And then ration will come back and we’ll say it, ‘It’s probably not. Don’t get your hopes up.’ We’ve been here so many times before.”

READ NEXT: Susan Cox Powell’s Disappearance Timeline

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