Feds deny ongoing investigation in Susan Cox Powell case

by: David Ham Updated:

SEATTLE - The U.S. Attorney's Office in Utah says it's not true that there's an ongoing federal investigation into the 2009 disappearance of Susan Cox Powell.

The lawyer for Susan Powell's parents, Anne Bremner, said Tuesday morning that federal authorities are looking into what the missing woman's father-in-law might have known.

But the Salt Lake City U.S. Attorney's Office issued a statement Tuesday afternoon denying that. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Washington also said that office was not investigating.

The Salt Lake City office says federal law enforcement agencies in Utah would be happy to help if any new developments in the case emerge, but for now, "we do not have plans to conduct any further investigation."

Police in Utah said Monday that they were closing the investigation. They believed Susan Powell's husband, Josh, killed her, and that Josh's brother helped dispose of the body. Both committed suicide.

“My daughter’s missing, she’s probably not coming back,” Susan’s father, Chuck Cox said. “We’re still going to look for her until we find her.”

Bremner, who gathered reporters Tuesday and announced the investigation, did not elaborate on the federal agency. Cox said the family also has hired a private investigator to try and find answers.

On Monday, thousands of redacted investigation documents were released to reporters. Many are journals and private notes, including a handwritten last will she left in a safe deposit box.

>>> Find a PDF of Susan Cox Powell's last will and testament here.

The first page reads, "For family, friend of Susan. All except for Josh Powell, husband. I don't trust him!"  It was dated Saturday, June 28, 2008.

In her note, Cox Powell also stated that she wanted her father to have custody of her boys Charlie and Braden, if anything happened to her.

"If I die it may not be an accident...even if it looks like one.  Take care of my boys," Powell wrote.

Chuck Cox said his early suspicion was that his daughter was poisoned with pancake batter.

“Josh made pancakes that day, and as my understanding he served individual pancakes to the people on their plate – spray it fresh off the griddle,” Cox said. “I’ve never seen do anything like that. And then afterwards he washed the dishes in the sink in the kitchen, the whole bit.

“And then afterwards in that case, Susan was not feeling well.”

Susan Cox Powell disappeared in December 2009 and police said her brother-in-law became the focus of investigators after Susan's husband Josh killed himself and the couple's two boys at their home in Graham in February 2011.

The brother-in-law, Michael Powell, committed suicide earlier this year after investigators began looking into his communication with Josh around the time Cox Powell disappeared.

Police believe that he had a part in hiding Susan Cox Powell's body.

Steven Powell, Josh’s father, was convicted in 2012 on 14 counts of voyeurism. He was scheduled to get out of the Monroe Correction Complex later this week, but the Department of Corrections said that’s expected to be delayed because he has not submitted an offender release plan.

Also in the 30,000 pages of journals, letters, notes and records that police released were files that say Josh Powell had an affair with a Utah woman just months before his wife disappeared.

According to a West Valley City police detective's report, investigators contacted the woman, whose full name is redacted, in August 2010, after her phone number was discovered in connection with the case.

She told police she had a sexual relationship with Josh Powell after meeting him through a dating service about six or seven months before Susan Powell disappeared. The woman said she knew Powell by the name John Staley, and she didn't know he was married.

She said Powell gave her about $800 over the course of their relationship. It was only after she saw news stories about Susan Powell's disappeared that she realized his true identity.