A judge has ordered that the search warrants that led to
the arrest of Steven Powell, be unsealed.
The warrants spawned a series of events that led to
Steven Powell’s arrest for voyeurism and child pornography
charges, while his son Josh Powell, who was living with at
the time, lost custody of his two young sons.
The documents reveal the details of West Valley City
Police’s case against Josh Powell. Pierce County
spokesperson Detective Ed Troyer said that if the
disappearance of Susan Cox Powell would have happened in
their jurisdiction, Josh Powell would be in jail.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist also told 97.3 KIRO FM’s Ron & Don Show that had the Susan Powell case happened in his jurisdiction, he would have charged Josh Powell with her murder.
“It’s not from [police] doing a lack of great work over
there at West Valley and getting the information and
putting a case together – it’s just, where is the
disconnect and why wasn’t he charged?” questions Troyer.
According to Troyer, details revealed in the unsealed
search warrant include blood identified as Susan Cox
Powell inside the Utah home of the couple.
In a search of the Powell home in Utah, detectives discovered
Susan’s blood on a tile floor near a sofa. When
detectives first entered the home, they noticed two fans
pointed at a sofa, which Josh explained he cleaned before
his camping trip on Dec. 6, 2009 as requested by Susan.
Utah detectives also found a letter titled “Last Will &
Testament for Susan Powell” in a safe deposit box at a
bank in Salt Lake City. In the letter, Susan said she did
not trust her husband and he had threatened to destroy her
if they get divorced and her children will not have a mom
and dad. She also said that if she died, it may not be an
accident, even if it looks like one.
After an Aug. 2011 search of the Powell home where father
and son, along with Josh’s two sons, Braden and Charlie
were living, turned up child pornography, Pierce County
officers arrested and charged Steve Powell. He pleaded not
guilty to 14 counts of voyeurism involving two children
and one count of Possession of Depictions of Minors
Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct in the Second Degree.
Now that the warrant has been unsealed, Lindquist said that he will be able to
defend the reasons behind the arrest of Steven Powell and
move forward with the case.
Steven Powell’s defense attorneys had said the evidence
collected from the Powell house should be thrown out
because the search was unconstitutional. The initial
search was conducted by West Valley City, Utah police who
traveled to Puyallup, to search the Powell home as part of
their investigation into the disappearance of Josh
Powell’s wife, Susan.
The defense called the effort by police nothing more than
a “random fishing expedition style search,” according to
the Deseret News.
But, Lindquist says Utah authorities “played by the rules”
when they obtained the warrant to search the Powell’s
Josh Powell and his two sons were killed in an explosion
at a home in Graham on Feb. 5. Police said Powell
intentionally set the fire right after a social worker
brought the boys over for a supervised visit. Powell
blocked the social working from entering the house and she
called 911 when she smelled the gas, but emergency
responders didn’t arrive on the scene until after the
After Josh Powell’s death, Steven Powell filed a written
notice in Pierce County Superior Court asserting his
constitutional right to remain silent and not discuss any
matters with Utah, Washington, or federal law enforcement.
Prosecutors in Pierce County have said they would listen
to any information that Steven Powell has about the
disappearance of his daughter-in-law, but have not offered
him any kind of plea deal.