Susan Powell's Husband Says In-Laws Have 'Irrational Vendetta' Against Him

12/08/2011 08:24 pm ET | Updated Mar 27, 2014
  • David Lohr Senior Crime Reporter, The Huffington Post

The husband of missing Utah mom Susan Cox Powell is accusing his wife's parents of turning the couple's children against him.

Two years ago this week, Susan, then 28, disappeared. Now her husband claims his in-laws, Chuck and Judy Cox, have an "irrational vendetta" against him.

"The Coxes are coaching my sons in ways that are clearly intended to destroy our loving relationships as a natural family unit," Josh Powell wrote in a court declaration that he filed Monday in Pierce County, Wash.

"By living in the Cox house, the boys are exposed to the Coxes' overwhelming attitude of hatred toward me and it is seriously traumatizing my children," he wrote. "There is considerable evidence that the Coxes make explicit comments to and around my sons reflecting their attitude."


Josh And Susan Powell

Powell is asking the court to place the two boys, ages 4 and 6, with a neutral guardian. He said that by being with his in-laws, his sons "are caught in the middle of a very hostile war of words and emotions."

Susan Powell's parents have had custody of the children since September. Judge Kathryn Nelson placed the children with the Cox family after Josh Powell's father, Steve Powell, was charged with voyeurism and possession of child pornography. The children had previously been living with their father in Steve Powell's home.

Steve Powell has pleaded not guilty to 14 charges of voyeurism and one of possession of child pornography. He remains jailed on $200,000 bail.

Susan Powell was reported missing by her family on Dec. 7, 2009, when she failed to show up for her job as a stockbroker at Wells Fargo Financial. Josh Powell told police he had been camping with the children, and that he had last seen his wife around midnight.

Suspicious of Josh Powell's story, investigators named him a "person of interest" in his wife's disappearance. Several search warrants were served, including one to draw biological samples from him. Police also impounded the family van.

No one has been charged in Susan Powell's disappearance, and police say the case remains an active investigation.

Since his wife's disappearance, Powell, who still wears his wedding ring, has claimed his wife suffered from mental illness and plotted her own disappearance.

More recently, in July, Steve Powell announced that he planned to publish his daughter-in-law's private journal online. He told NBC's "Today" show he had 2,000 pages of journals that Susan Powell allegedly kept before she went missing.

"People don't know that there are two distinct sides of Susan. She was very ... kind of an open person in a sexual way ... with the opposite sex," Powell said on the show.

Steve Powell was arrested on the child pornography charges roughly two months later.

Susan's parents have always defended their daughter in the press and have made it clear they suspect foul play in her disappearance. In regard to Josh Powell's most recent allegations -- that they are interfering with the relationship he has with his children -- they are unable to comment, according to their attorney, Anne Bremner.

"My clients are under a court order in the family law case not to discuss the matter," Bremner told The Huffington Post.

She added: "I can say that the boys are in a loving and safe home."