New evidence: Pierce Co. prosecutors would have charged Josh Powell in wife's disappearance

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TACOMA, Wash. —

A search warrant unsealed this afternoon has provided a series of revelations about Josh Powell's apparent involvement in his wife's disappearance, including that blood was found at the couple's Utah home after Susan Cox Powell disappeared.

The revelations raise more questions about why Powell wasn't charged in the 2009 disappearance of Susan Cox Powell -- before he killed himself and their two young sons in a gas-fueled inferno.

Among the discoveries revealed publicly for the first time on Friday:

  • Utah police found "blood evidence" found in the Powell home in December, 2009, "on a tile floor next to the carpet adjacent to the sofa" and that "forensic tests of the blood indicated is it Susan Powell's."
  • Josh Powell told police "he had cleaned the sofa near the spot where the blood was found on Sunday December 6 because Susan told him to."
  • A friend told police that Powell "once made comments about how to kill someone, dispose of the body and not get caught."
  • Powell talked about camping in the desert in an area "full of mine shafts, tunnels that are very unstable so you could dispose of someone and no one would ever search for the body."
  • Susan Cox Powell wrote a "last will and testament" by hand and said Josh warned that if she divorced him, their kids would "not have a mother or a father."
  • Charlie Powell, the couple's son, said "my mom is dead" as early as January 3, 2009, shortly after Susan Cox Powell disappeared.
  • Susan Cox Powell's cell phone was found in Josh's car after she disappeared, and he couldn't explain why.
  • Seven days after she disappeared, Josh Powell told their kids' day care center that the boys would not be coming back. 
  • Susan Powell wrote that if she died, "it may not be an accident -- even if it looks like one."

See complete search warrant here

After the warrant was unsealed, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said that under Washington state law, there was enough evidence there to arrest Josh Powell.

"Based on the facts that we now know, I can say that the case against Josh Powell for the murder of Susan Powell is one that we would have charged," Lindquist said. "I don't know the law in Utah, I don't know what facts were available to the Utah D.A., and therefore I can't speak to the decision in Utah."

Pierce County Sheriff's Office spokesman Ed Troyer said his agency would have moved to arrest Powell, given the evidence that came out Friday.

"There's circumstantial evidence, there's direct evidence, there's motive -- we would have made an arrest," he said.

The new information came to light after a judge ordered that a search warrant that led to the arrest of Josh Powell's father, Steven, be unsealed.

Asked why they didn’t alert Washington authorities when Susan Cox Powell’s blood was first identified, Michael Powell (no relation) of the West Valley City police called it “an interesting question.”

“There’s a lot of things that have to be considered, and the mere fact that we have an active investigation – not all details can be released,” Michael Powell said.

Detectives in West Valley City are still investigating Susan Cox Powell as a missing person -- not a victim of homicide -- despite the evidence that came to light Friday.

Earlier, sources hadtold KIRO 7 South Sound reporter Kevin McCarty the warrant would contain significant information relating to the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell, as well as Steven Powell's criminal case. Follow his updates @KevinKIRO on twitter.com.

Steven Powell, 62, was arrested in September on 14 counts of voyeurism and a single count of possessing child pornography. Investigators claimed they found thousands of hours of secretly recorded video Powell had taken of neighbors, including children. They allege Powell also had explicit photos of his missing daughter-in-law, Susan Cox Powell, which were taken without her knowledge.

The evidence was found after a search of Powell's home in Graham last summer by police from West Valley City, Utah. Detectives from that department notified Pierce County Sheriff's investigators that they had found the images and video while searching computers taken from Powell's home as part of their investigation into the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell in December 2009.  Joshua Powell is now considered a suspect in that case. He died February 5 along with the couple's two sons, Charlie and Braden, after he assaulted the boys with a hatchet and set fire to a home in Graham during what was supposed to be supervised visitation. 

Steven Powell's attorneys wanted the warrant unsealed as part of their motion to suppress the evidence used to charge him.