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Archive for the ‘Susan Powell’ Category

The past few days have been a whirlwind of new information about Susan Cox Powell’s case…with the police search in Ely, Nevada; the “Honk and Wave campaign” in Utah and Washington to raise awareness of Susan; and the confrontation between Cox and Powell families in Puyallup, Washington on Saturday.

Sunday night, news broke about Josh Powell’s father, Steve Powell, having “feelings” for Susan—his own daughter-in-law.  (Click here for the KUTV 2 news report, and here for an article by Isabelle Zehnder.)  I’ve been monitoring Facebook, Twitter, and other places online and have seen many comments on this issue by emotional and outraged people on both sides.

I wanted to explain WHY I personally decided to finally break my silence and talk about these new allegations against Steve Powell. 

Josh and Susan Powell moved to Utah 7 years ago and we became friends immediately.  Susan and I became particularly close, and were together several times a week.  We spent hours upon hours talking, laughing, and sharing many things.

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When I had known Susan a few months, she began talking to me about why it is that she and Josh decided to move to Utah.  There were several factors, she originally said…a better job…a new start…a chance to get to know Josh’s sister Jennifer Graves, and Josh’s mother, Teri Powell, better.  Then one day she told me that a very big part of the reason she and Josh moved to Utah was to get away from Josh’s father, Steve Powell. 

I was very surprised by this.  Yes, I knew many people didn’t like or get along with their in-laws.  But when Susan talked about Steve Powell, she expressed extreme disgust and even feelings approaching hatred. 

Then she told me WHY she felt this way.  She said that early in her marriage to Josh, when they were still newlyweds, they wanted to save money to get their own apartment.  So they moved in for a short time with Steve Powell.

At the time, there wasn’t an extra bedroom for them.  So they converted a dining room into their bedroom and hung a curtain over the opening for privacy.  Shortly after moving in, Susan began to feel very strange around Steve Powell.  She said that she felt like her father-in-law was looking at her inappropriately—and once she even caught him trying to watch her get dressed one day.

She tried to give her new father-in-law the benefit of the doubt, but the weird feelings and things continued, and one day it culminated in a very inappropriate episode where Steve Powell tried to kiss her.  This was not a “family” kiss.  This was a romantic kiss. 

Susan was so creeped out, disgusted and horrified that she told Josh “That’s it, we’re moving out.  NOW.”  And soon after that, they did. 

I was, of course, shocked, horrified and disgusted to hear about this.  “That’s not all,” Susan said.  “There’s more.”  She told me that after living in Utah a couple of years, one day she received a package in the mail.  Steve Powell had sent Susan several pictures of Susan’s favorite actor. 

At first, Susan thought this was actually a nice gesture on the part of Steve Powell.  She wondered if he had changed, and maybe become a kinder person.  Then she saw what was sitting in the middle of the stack of pictures: several pictures of naked men.

She was horrified, sickened, full of revulsion.  She threw the pictures away immediately and it re-affirmed more than ever her feelings about Steve Powell, her father-in-law.  She told Josh on many occasions, even in the presence of my husband John and myself: “Your father is NEVER allowed to step foot in our house here in Utah.  If he comes to visit you here, you can go see him in his hotel.  He WILL NOT defile our house by his presence here.”

She also told me several times that she did not feel comfortable around Steve, and she did not want her little boys, Charlie and Braden, to ever be alone with him.  She did not enjoy visiting Steve Powell when she and Josh went to Washington to visit family, but she endured it when she had to because she wanted Josh to be able to visit his family.

So, the question on anyone’s mind who has taken the time to read all this is: why now?  Why did you not come forward with this in the very beginning? 

It is a good question, and here is my answer: I told all of this to the police from the very first week of the investigation.  In fact, an early blog entry I wrote said this in response to attacks by critics: “You don’t know all the details here.  There are many, many details of Susan’s background/relationship with Josh/etc. that have NOT been made public.” 

So why make them public now?  From the beginning of this case, Susan’s father, Chuck Cox, personally asked me and everyone else to please not point fingers at Josh Powell.  He wanted us to focus on FINDING SUSAN and not accusations or blame.  Through the past 20 months, things have changed a little bit as more and more information has come out.  But one thing has stayed the same: Chuck still has asked us to focus completely on finding Susan.  The only thing he has accused Josh of in Susan’s disappearance is not cooperating with police.  I have done the same.  Josh was my friend, too.  I have never said he is “guilty” or that he “made Susan disappear” or anything like that.  I have only said, “Josh, if you are innocent, PLEASE TALK TO POLICE and clear your name!”  I told Josh this personally, to his face, for the last time in February 2010 before he cut off all contact with me and my family.

Meanwhile, Josh and Steve Powell have used their website, SusanPowell.org, as a forum to slander, abuse, attack and demean not only Susan but Chuck and Judy Cox, Josh’s own sister Jennifer Graves, the LDS church Susan loved and belonged to, and many other people who love and care about Susan.  Still, in the face of all this, Chuck Cox has still told us: “Focus on finding Susan.”  He has consistently taken the higher road and refused to stoop to the level of Josh and Steve Powell. 

Yet in recent weeks, the level of abuse against Susan by her own husband and father-in-law has escalated and reached new lows.  They say they have several volumes of Susan’s personal journals from when Susan was 8 years old all the way to age 20.  Steve Powell has gone on record on the national news, on the Today show and others, to say that he has personally read all 2,000 pages of Susan’s childhood journals and plans to transcribe them and post them online for the world to see.  He insists that Susan was “promiscuous” and “suicidal” and that these, her childhood and teenage journal writings, prove that she “ran off” with another man.

My feelings about the absolute immorality and depravity of such an act—reading a teenage girl’s journals and planning to publish them to the world without her permission or knowledge—are no secret.  It is one of the most filthy, evil, cruel violations I have ever witnessed.  And I will not stand by and see my dear friend’s privacy, honor, personal feelings, and life violated in this evil and debase way. 

So I’m speaking out.  I am not doing this for revenge.  I am not doing this to “get back at” Steve and Josh, or to “fling mud.”  I am doing it because Susan is not here to stand up for herself.  She is not here to take her personal, private journals out of the hands of such cruel people.  She would be horrified, sickened, and beyond furious that her privacy was being violated like this.  Steve Powell is the very last person on earth she would EVER want to lay a finger on her personal journals—let alone take the time to spend hundreds of hours reading every page and “transcribing” them.  It is wrong in every way.  It is immoral, and publishing them is illegal and against copyright law.  (If Susan is alive, as Steve and Josh claim, they are violating her legal right to copyright over her own private writings.)

I did not want to expose what Susan told me in deep confidence about her father-in-law.  But enough is enough.  Susan is missing.  She was ripped away from her children, her parents, her family, her life.  She has no say in what her so-called “family of marriage” is doing to her, her reputation, her children, and her possessions.  But I will speak up for her now and forever in not allowing this evil to go forward unchallenged.

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When I was a child, I kept a journal infrequently.  I’d write a few sentences…nothing too exciting.  By the time I turned 12 I started writing more often, and my teenage years got even more frequent entries.

my journal cover               my journal inside cover

These journal entries are silly…fluffy…embarrassing…and hilarious to read now, looking back.  They’re full of crushes on boys; my hopes and fears; incidents from my daily life, both mundane and earth-shattering.  They also show some things I was truly sad about.  I wrote about them as I wanted, giving full sway to my feelings because, hey, these were totally private, right?  No one would EVER read them…unless I gave my kids permission to read them when they were old enough.

This seems like a basic truth, or right, that everyone on earth should have: their own right to privacy in their thoughts and feelings…their private thoughts, kept in a private journal, diary, or notebook, contained safely away from prying eyes, not something that anyone else should ever see unless the writer chooses to share.

My friend Susan Cox Powell kept many journals during her teenage years and beyond.  She filled volumes with her private thoughts, her private feelings.  Her hopes, her dreams…probably a lot of angst…teenage melodrama, fun, anger.  She felt free to vent her feelings and thoughts in those journals, secure in the knowledge that they were safe to her.  She may have at some future point chosen to share those journals with her sons, but she certainly never read even one page of those journals to her closest friends or even her family.

Now Susan is gone: missing, disappeared, snatched from her boys, her parents and sisters, her friends, her life.  She has been missing for 19 months without a trace.  Susan’s parents have nothing left of her but memories and photographs.  They don’t even have her sons—Susan’s husband Josh has denied them access to even visit their own grandsons. 

Who has Susan’s journals?  Is it her parents, who respected Susan’s right to privacy and never read her journals? 

NO.  Susan’s private journals—the diaries of a teen girl—are in the hands of the Josh and Steve Powell family. 

Do the Powells respect the privacy and sanctity of her journals?  Do they offer, out of the kindness of their hearts, to give these journals to the Cox family for safekeeping?  Do they keep them stored away safely, so her sons could read them someday and get to know their mother, who was ripped away from them?

NO.  The Powells READ Susan’s journals.  Her father-in-law, Steve Powell—a man who should be trying to find Susan, and who should be cooperating with the police, and urging his son, Josh Powell, to cooperate with police—has gone on national television, not once, but twice, most recently this morning on the NBC Today show—to announce to the world that he has not only READ all of Susan’s private teenage journals, but he is planning to publish them on a new website, starting this week.

What kind of a man does this?

What kind of a person not only violates the sacred privacy of a young girl by reading her thoughts…thoughts that she wrote down before she ever met Josh, his father, or anyone in his family…but also decides he’s going to publish her private thoughts to the entire world?

Susan is gone.  She was taken away from all she holds dear.  Her family and friends are heartbroken, and her sons are without their mother.  She is not here to be her own voice, to stand up in defense of her thoughts, her feelings, her past actions, her life. 

This is so wrong, on every level.  This is an act of total depravity.  And I hope the people of this country and this world will realize this and stand up for Susan, for truth, for justice.  Tell your friends and everyone you know in any way you can—in person, through blogs, Facebook, Twitter–that Susan Cox Powell is still missing, that she has been taken away from her sons, that her life is not the Powell’s to lay open and expose every detail of her teen years.  Those things are Susan’s alone to reveal, and she is not here to do it.  Stand up for Susan.  And please, pray for her, her sons Charlie and Braden, and the Cox family.  Truth WILL prevail.  Justice WILL be done.  And there is a loving God in heaven who will not stand by and watch these immoral, cruel acts to be perpetrated over and over on the innocent.

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The second week of August, the kids and I entered a bunch of things in the Salt Lake County Fair.

As children in our local northwoods Wisconsin 4-H club, my siblings and I entered stuff in the Vilas County Fair every year.  But Utah fairs were a new experience for all of us (besides being spectators at the State Fair the last few years). 

We’d just returned from our family reunion on August 8, but on Monday, August 9th we threw ourselves into baking. 

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By 10pm we were exhausted so we got up early the next day and continued.  I decided at the last minute to bake 2 items, as well, and we barely made it to the Fair by the noon deadline.

We’d previously turned in the kids’ art projects on Sunday afternoon, so we counted the hours until we could go on Wednesday morning and see if our items got any prizes.

Wednesday dawned, sunny and hot.  When we got to the Fair, we raced to the art section and scanned the many framed entries hanging on the wall.  When the kids saw their prizes they started screaming and jumping up and down.  Nia, especially, was quite ecstatic and couldn’t stop screaming for a few minutes.  (They award prizes based on merit, so everyone who deserves one gets an appropriate prize.)

Ciara:

1st prize: Forest and waterfall scene

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2nd prize: Unicorn on a hill

ciara prize1

1st prize: Chocolate chip cookies

2nd prize: Pumpkin bread

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Bran:

2nd prize: Clone Trooper drawing

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3rd prize: GF sugar cookies

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4th prize: GF muffins (I guess the judges don’t like the taste of gluten-free cooking!)

 

Nia:

1st prize, “high blue” (for entries better than 1st place) and “Sweepstakes Award” for best in category: Pink Flower drawing

nia prize1

1st prize: Oatmeal cookies

2nd prize: Chocolate no-bake cookies

 

Me:

1st prize: lemon poppyseed muffins

me prize1

2nd prize: Sour Cream coffeecake

After we’d finished screaming and jumping, we met up with our friends Linda, Rebecca and Joseph.  We had fun visiting the animal barns (though my allergies didn’t let me stay there long…apparently there were owls in the bird and rabbit barn!! I don’t know how we missed them!), looking at all the exhibits, and watching the Pig Races.  Yep, that’s right…Pig Races done by Cook’s Racing Pigs.  It was extremely funny, and if I get a YouTube video up at some point I’ll come back and link it here.

We came back to the fair that evening to watch a free concert by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  Wow, are they ever incredible musicians!! I didn’t know any of their songs except the famous “Fishin’ in the Dark.”  The banjo and harmonica players were especially talented.  It was a terrific concert.  I took some videos, but the pictures didn’t turn out very well.

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We were pretty far back and to the side…I had to leave partway through to pick up Nia from a birthday party and then come back, so we sat close to the side so I wouldn’t disturb very many people. 

Around 10:30 p.m. when the concert was ending, a nice lady in the row behind us tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if there was any news in Susan’s case.  I am continually touched and amazed at all the people who continue to care about and remember Susan, even though it’s been so long.  I appreciate them so much and I know Susan’s family does, too.

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Six months ago today, my dear friend Susan Cox Powell disappeared from her home under very suspicious circumstances.

I’ve written a blog post about it on the other blog I keep for Susan.  I just can’t believe it’s been six months and we still have no answers or resolution.  Her husband still refuses to cooperate with police or answer any questions, and her little boys are still without their mother.

This morning I got up at 3 a.m. to go downtown and be on the weekend Today show live.  These things don’t get any easier with time.  While I am beyond grateful for the media’s interest in Susan and their desire to keep her in the news, it is heart-wrenching agony to not have her back with us and have to mark yet another one of these anniversaries.

I know that Susan is in God’s hands, wherever she is, and that he is also watching over her sweet little boys.  We WILL find her and justice will be served. 

I’m thinking of you today and always, my friend.  I love you.

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My birthday was last week…and I was not expecting a good day.  Susan’s still missing and the only thing I want is to have her back.  It’s hard to care about anything trivial like a birthday.

But I was surprised that Sunday was actually quite a nice day after all.  Besides receiving sweet birthday cards from family, my 11-year-old daughter made me this, all on her own:

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A crocheted neckwarmer (short buttoned scarf)

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She also hand-wrote a fun “Birds of America” word search puzzle for me to do, which must’ve taken her a really long time.  And drew me a beautiful card with a lifelike picture of a chickadee inside.

John surprised me, too.  I’d told him a few days before that I just wanted a little cash to spend at the upcoming Renaissance Faire, so I wasn’t expecting anything.  But he gave me a digital camera!  Such a great present because our old camera was not only ancient and decrepit, but also sucks the life out of every battery after just a few minutes.  I’d really been wanting a new camera.

He also gave me a mixing bowl and big wooden spoon/ladle.  I’d just told him last week how much I needed a new mixing bowl.

As if that wasn’t enough, after church he and the kids made me a cake.  Yes, it was a mix, and yes, it was lemon cake—not my favorite—but since he’s never made me a cake before, it was such a sweet gesture.  It was good, too!  The kids ate it so fast it barely had a chance to cool down.

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My sweet friend JoVonna also made me a treat and brought it over.  What a lovely friend she is.  Also, my online friends poured out the birthday wishes on my Facebook page so much that it nearly made me cry.  Friends from Wisconsin, Utah, church, homeschool, and many people I’ve never met in person but have become dear friends through this 5-month ordeal since Susan has been gone.  I am very blessed.

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Just a quick post to squash a couple of stupid, silly rumors that I’m really sick of. 

I’ve seen this rumor everywhere the past few months and this post probably won’t do any good because the kind of people that spread this garbage don’t believe me, anyway—but here goes:

No, I am not writing a book.  Not about Susan, or anything or anyone else.

How do rumors get started?  Lots of reasons, I suppose…malicious people who have nothing better to do with their lives…or someone who sees or reads something, says “I wonder if” or “I bet this person thinks” or “Maybe this happened” and then someone else reads it and takes it as fact without ever bothering to check the truth out.

People see that I have an English degree and that I’m interested in writing children’s novels.  So for some reason they assume this means I want to write about Susan.

I think the people that obsess about this kind of thing need to find something productive to do.  Go outside, take a walk, enjoy some fresh air, fill your mind with good literature, do something kind for others.  Or—if you’re so concerned with every minute detail of Susan’s friends’ private lives—do something to help Susan such as printing and passing out fliers in your local area.  Volunteer at a homeless shelter or donate items to women’s shelters. 

I love these posters…a picture is worth a thousand words.

I spend 99.9% of my time trying to find Susan in every way I can, and the tiny bit of time left over all goes to my family.  I homeschool my children and try to give them a strong foundation for their lives and a sense of security…not an easy thing when their mother’s friend suddenly disappears from their lives and they’ve got to be wondering, if it could happen to her, could it happen to anyone?  I don’t have time to write anything more than I’m already doing with blogs, e-mails, Facebook messages, Twitter accounts, and all the other online things to keep Susan in the news and in people’s minds and hearts.

I hope that some people who like to spread and perpetuate rumors of this type and others will stop and consider what they’re doing, who they could be damaging, and what lives they could be destroying.  Find out the truth before spreading lies.  Gossip is never good, whether in person or online. 

Instead, why not go out and do something real with your day and go to bed feeling that you’ve contributed something good to the world.

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I’ve talked before about how much it helps to feel the support and prayers of people all over the world, praying for Susan, her family, and everyone involved in the effort to find her. 

One unexpected blessing that’s come out of this horrible situation is the massive amounts of friends Susan still continues to gain, even while she’s been missing from our lives.  People everywhere feel like they know her and love her and feel so much a part of her disappearance. 

I personally have made many new friends…total strangers who’ve been searching since the day Susan disappeared…Susan’s co-workers…her family…media representatives…and many people on the internet from all over the world.  These people have followed Susan’s story since the beginning and they just can’t possibly know how much their support, faith, prayers, and encouraging comments help us keep going. 

I want to thank everyone who has said even one prayer for Susan and her family.  Everyone who has physically searched for some clue to Susan’s disappearance.  All those who have spent countless hours online, trying desperately to put the pieces of this puzzle together to help with finding Susan.  The media, especially the local media who have covered Susan’s story again and again.  And of course, the police, who are working tirelessly to find Susan and bring her home. 

Early Monday morning, I finished the last of 3 books I’ve been reading about Elizabeth Smart.  The first book I read was a good overall summary of the whole story, while the Tom Smart and Lee Benson book offered an excellent and detailed look into the inner workings of the case.  I saved the one written by her parents for last, and it was a wonderful book—so full of faith and hope and gratitude.  My own faith and hope was bolstered by Ed and Lois Smart’s example and courage…and of course, Elizabeth’s, to make it through such a terrible ordeal. 

I don’t know where Susan is but one thing I do know: there is a God in heaven who is personally invested in each of our lives.  He knows where Susan is, and he is watching over her and over all of us.  I know his heart breaks for his precious children when things like this happen.  I know he will help us find her.

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