ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Steve Powell sang to the FBI just months into the search for his missing daughter-in-law Susan Powell. Agents tried to warn him that his son, Josh Powell, was likely a murderer and could kill again. Steve's bizarre views came under even more intense scrutiny after West Valley City police discovered he'd written and performed songs about Susan using the alias Steve Chantrey. He had even convinced Susan to sing background vocals for his planned album, "Light of Seattle."

For the past three years, investigative reporter Dave Cawley has been studying thousands of police documents, journals, videos and diary entries. He has tracked down new sources, followed new leads and traced Josh Powell's trail from West Valley City, Utah, through Idaho, Oregon, Nevada and on to Washington State, where Powell killed himself and his two sons. Cold is the most complete retelling of the Susan Powell story ever. Join Dave Cawley in his search for truth. Share your thoughts: #ColdPodcast #FindSusan Twitter Instagram Facebook

English
United States

TRANSCRIPT

00:00:00this podcast discusses domestic violence criminal behavior murder and adult themes while not explicit listener discretion is advised Steve has fingers tapped to to keep she turned down an email to West Valley police in mid January of two thousand and ten about five weeks after his daughter in law
00:00:30Susan's unsolved disappearance Steve wanted to know if police were looking into any other persons of interest beside his son Josh Steve had someone to suggest a man named tin Peterson here is what he wrote we are developing a resume of sorts on teen Peterson possibly to send to
00:00:53the media Peterson and his family lived in Josh and Susan's West Valley neighborhood in the summer of two thousand and nine before Susan disappeared both him and his wife crystal had offered Susan advice about divorce and marriage counseling crystal given Susan hand me down clothes for her son's
00:01:12Charlie and Braden to where Tim under pressure from Josh had offered the Powells his backyard swing set his kids said outgrown it then Susan vanished Tim suspected Josh was responsible wait one December evening he drove his truck and trailer over to the powerhouse on Serra circle he started
00:01:37backing into the yard intent on retrieving the swing set but the trailer clip defense and became mired in the snow Josh's brother Michael observing this told him to leave Tim with you Michael threatened to call the police TV news crews camped out in the cold the sec watched
00:01:59in disbelief the next day Michael told the detective he'd remembered having a phone conversation with Susan a few weeks before she disappeared he cleaned Susan had mentioned a neighbor guy who was getting too close for comfort Michael said his name was Kim Peterson this was the first the
00:02:22police had heard of it and they had no way of verifying Michael's claim but it was all Steve Powell needed to paint Peterson as a scapegoat here again is what Steve wrote in his email since Tim Peterson's violent show the other night Josh had begun to look at
00:02:38him differently and was taken aback to since learned that Peterson was trying to break up the pals marriage Steve wondered if Peterson might have kidnapped Susan maybe he suggested she called him for a ride to work the morning of December seventh when Josh was out on the Pony
00:02:53Express trail with the boys and that is when Peterson did something terrible Tim told me Josh had tried to make him into a Patsy for she went missing he was almost like trying to get me to hang out with his wife but it didn't work in the weeks
00:03:16and months that followed him would go so far as to take a lie detector test it ruled him out as a suspect when police obtained copies of students emails they were able to read exactly what he told her about Josh I knew this guy was a crap and
00:03:36%HESITATION he was trouble and I tried so hard explain that to you %HESITATION she and help her to understand that he is a socio path then and in fact %HESITATION everything is an asset or a liability naturally look people better way building and years you decide to try
00:04:04and get a divorce from you then become more liability and you're in a anything along and there won't be any any doing that specially this is cold episode nine light of Seattle I'm Dave Kali back after this as we head into the new year many are making new
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00:05:20podcast listeners get ten percent off plus free shipping on their first color kit with code cold that's code C. O. L. D. go to Madison dash read dot com Steve Powell's email to the police about ten Peterson included a clue he might not have intended to provide at
00:05:39the bottom of the message was a footer a piece of text automatically added to all of Steve's outgoing emails it read here the music at W. W. W. dot Steve chantry dot com I can love you in this following that link took the reader to a website with
00:06:06the night time photo of Steve sitting in front of Elliott bay with the Seattle skyline reflected in the water behind him the banner text at the top of the page read music of Steve chantry into cursive font Steve chantry is a very creative individual that's why is a
00:06:26writer Swayze's senior sways a musician that is Ellis Maxwell the now retired police detective who led the investigation into Susan Powell's disappearance he and the rest of the major crimes team took a great interest in Steve's website a navigation bar on the left hand side included a link
00:06:49for an album titled white of Seattle it also had lyrics for twelve songs one titled I said I love you seemed particularly disturbing given what detectives had already learned about Steve's lust for his daughter in law here is how the song started I said I love you is
00:07:12that a sin I just might want to say it once again I love you like it or don't I said I love you you should have kissed me I felt like giving up when you just dissed me I love you thank and Susan had been Steve's muse for
00:07:54years his reason for writing the selection of songs on his website didn't even scratch the surface he kept an updated tally of songs that she had inspired on his computer that list grew to include more than fifty titles in April of two thousand and ten Steve wrote this
00:08:17in his journal I recently dusted off my song the stars were twinkling down in Provo when I played it for Josh and Michael they said it sounded like it was also about Susan they like the wine you departed in a hustle you flipped me off and showed your
00:08:32muscle since I wrote the song years ago Michael called me no stray dominus a profit Steve had even inserted Susan into song she had not originally inspired one titled lady with the sunlight hair became Susan with the sunlight here game that voice you hear singing the harmony belongs
00:09:12to Susan she reluctantly agreed to record background vocals for Steely months before her disappearance she chose the songs to some coworkers she played it for all of us at work and we're all laughing about it and how weird that was she was laughing at this and agreeing is
00:09:43here there is a place in the instrumental bridge with the line I am in love with Susan Josh said people would find that objectionable that's my favorite four seconds in the whole song my fantasy is that she will return Josh won't want her and she'll take up residence
00:10:01in my bedroom I each time you let me touch and no sooner had the ten Peterson theory collapsed then Steve latched on to a new hypothesis in mid February of two thousand and ten he called the FBI and asked to meet with agents he wanted to talk to
00:10:44the feds about Stephen culture Josh's story baby fishy but this one's even fish year yeah culture was a resident of Saint George Utah he had disappeared under bizarre circumstances on December thirteenth of two thousand and nine a week after Susan's disappearance culture was last seen on a home
00:11:07surveillance video leaving his car at a cold a sack in the Las Vegas Nevada suburb of Henderson where he went or what became of him are still unknowns like Susan he has never been found Steve Powell claimed that because Susan and culture were both the latter day saints
00:11:28and both from Utah they must've had a secret relationship he supposed Susan had hatched an elaborate plan to run off with culture I also believe fleeing the country and traveling by land and sea to fourteen days of Brazil where culture had lived while serving a two year church
00:11:48mission special agent Russ Johnson from the FBI's Salt Lake City field office arranged to meet with Steve on February twenty fourth and he tapped another special agent from the Tacoma area Gerry France to take part in the interview Steve arrived in the afternoon the agents took him into
00:12:09a room sat him down and started to ask about Josh to did you know that you were coming in today to talk to us felt yeah how did he feel about that world you know you just said you know just be aware that they're not they're not on
00:12:23our side that's pretty much it all because he can I was his experience with the West Valley city police this is the actual recording of that interview this is the first time it has ever been made public Steve didn't know it but the FBI had also invited West
00:12:43Valley police to observe the interview on scene from another room the agents didn't dive into the culture stuff right away instead they told Steve they were coming to the case wait much of what they knew they said came from the media their questions later in the interview could
00:13:03prove this was disingenuous but it made sense for them to try and build some report with Steve at the outset agents Johnson in France asked Steve about where he was the day Susan disappeared and his communications with Josh since Steve said he had only sporadic contact with Josh
00:13:22on that day and the days that followed he told the agency was seventy five percent sure Susan was still alive he said he was one hundred percent sure Josh had not killed Susan I icicle finder %HESITATION I really do %HESITATION and %HESITATION and the other thing that that
00:13:46that has happened since the beginning of this whole process is that you know when it first started I don't know what happened to or I didn't have much contact with my son because that is the son who is married to work because the police conflicts confiscated a cellphone
00:14:03yeah crappy cell phone that didn't work I could he made no secret of the fact Josh had bought another phone and swapped his sim card into it Steve conceded that in the first days and weeks after Susan's disappearance even he had had his doubts about Josh's camping trip
00:14:22alibi look pretty fishy and also course the of the accusations of came immediately that all you know yeah he did something whether you know he is %HESITATION you know this eliminator whatever I and of course being on the other end you know anybody's capable of doing that kind
00:14:41of thing I mean I did you know you could you I mean we can you know you're in a fit of anger weird things happen relationships about but you know and I struggle without for you know because I couldn't reach Josh half the time on the cell phone
00:14:56and then we're if you work on Monday this is well this is on Monday and and even after that in over the next three were you able to talk to a couple yeah yeah every game every day at least a little bit in spite of the cell phone
00:15:08problems yeah the communication troubles but to Steve considering a trip to Utah but he said he'd been so despondent in those early days he couldn't endure it instead he sent his youngest children Michael and Alina over the phone he had advised to Josh to get a lawyer what
00:15:31why doesn't have the police contacted his attorney them even contacted them they haven't no they're not %HESITATION contacted the judge even called to active wow no then asking many questions the only contact they had was about two weeks ago when Josh was in Salt Lake City or in
00:15:47West Valley city and they called in and said we don't have your fingerprints that was not true Josh's attorney Scott Williams had told West Valley police in December the Josh wouldn't submit to another interview or take a lie detector test in late March Williams had sent us an
00:16:05email telling him Josh needed his computers back for tax professional and personal endeavors on February third of two thousand and ten Alice called Josh's phone number she knew Josh was in the Salt Lake City area at the time but didn't know for how long Josh didn't answer the
00:16:26call so Ellis left him this voice mail when you are finished recording hang up for for delivery options press pound a judge as detective Maxwell close by police department %HESITATION once said he needed Josh's fingerprints he also said he wanted to talk to Josh about Steve's email regarding
00:16:45ten Peterson of a lot of questions there as well %HESITATION in regards to Hammond in your thoughts and stuff you can share with me as for the computers you want to get your %HESITATION computer stuff back %HESITATION the RC a Felder finding that a lot of your hard
00:17:01drives a lot of files are encrypted so need to see if you give us those password so we don't have to break those encryption for those codes %HESITATION it just didn't call and was back but his defense attorney Scott Williams did Williams told Ellis that Josh couldn't remember
00:17:18the passwords but might if he were allowed to sit down with the devices Ellis said they could make that happen but of course Josh never followed through the agents told Steve they were very skeptical of his claim West Valley detectives had not contacted Josh's attorney Steve insisted it
00:17:42was the truth they they really if they wanted to talk to the best of both because he was down in Salt Lake twice since he came up here to be with the month to live in my house he's been back there twice for several days and they they
00:17:56wanted to talk to his attorney is totally available totally you know responsive %HESITATION the only thing they've asked for is you know when he first got there they wanted is is van again and they took the air filter out I guess and don't ask me what that's all
00:18:12about since he's gone all the way from Utah the to well up and back in the band since this tragedy began %HESITATION yeah in fact the very same day that Steve was sitting down with the F. B. I. agents into a coma Maxwell emailed Williams asking to schedule
00:18:31a time when Josh might come to the computer lab and try to input his passwords also he noted that Josh had removed the sim cards from both his and Susan cellphones before police seized each device he wanted to get a hold of those as well of course that
00:18:50never happened Josh never bothered to come and try his passwords he made no time for it during his Utah visit in early February whether that was a failure of communication or willing Dodge on his part remains unclear I've tried several times to contact Josh's attorney Scott Williams he
00:19:12has never responded to my messages or emails Josh never asked for his computers again Steve insistence that the West Valley police had not talked to Josh's attorney adjusted the Josh was keeping his dad in the dark either that or Steve Powell was lying to the FBI which is
00:19:38a federal crime he Josh you know Josh does not want to spend any more on the attorney fees in the house too so he's very makes is contact we spend whatever he needs to clear his name that's sort of it's not a matter of clearing his name because
00:19:53Josh doesn't feel guilty of anything yet feel factor that was one of the things I do after a few days he was at my house you know on this is Josh %HESITATION aren't you worried that they might come and arrest you and he said no why why would
00:20:07they okay Steve said Josh was annoyed with the police because they had wasted his time and taken his stuff during December but that wasn't the worst thing is not he is what he has a problem with that is you know he feels like when he was there at
00:20:29the police department the only thing is not happy about it they lied to move they were telling things like you know your son's told us that your wife was with you on the camp out well you know because he knew she was in with them and you know
00:20:41if you plan to things in their minds or if you're making this up you know the the the conversations over basically and off and he's in his back as mine he said you're lying to me so that's what he said to the I mean it's said out loud
00:20:57at the police they said that to me later he said they were lying to me I figure they're trying to they're trying to trump something up here they're trying to suggest that I have something to do with her disappearance and then on Wednesday morning Steve then added another
00:21:13interesting tidbit saying Josh's younger brother Michael who had served in the US army doing signals and human intelligence work had debriefed Josh after his police interviews well wow the agents steer the conversation towards Steve's relationship with Susan here he spoke very Frank terms much more so than he
00:21:40had with West Valley detectives who had interviewed him a couple of months earlier he described playing various cat and mouse games with her over the course of years in which he read any incidental physical contact between the two of them as an overt sexual act in Steve's mind
00:22:02Susan had instigated it found at one point when they were planning on moving I think they were planning on moving out to la I told Susan I was in love with her I didn't want her to leave and she got service K. one glued and it was like
00:22:18that it's okay to play the game but don't bring it out into the open you know what I'm saying so she would not talk to me for three months after that okay now is we've already seen that unwelcome love confession in July of two thousand three was primary
00:22:35motivation for Josh and Susan's move to Utah Susan lows her father in law yes Steve truly believed he and Susan continued to share a mutual infatuation the agents did not scoff at this remember they were trying to gain his trust you know the the natural question is %HESITATION
00:22:57you know did you guys actually ever have any actual contact of any sexual nature or anything or was it just always these %HESITATION little brushes that did the job game on one time you know as an aside your feet and she was wearing your feet in my crotch
00:23:13and every yeah stuff like that we know you're talking about actual physical sex yeah we actually never have sex okay because I don't think that's why I kind of don't I didn't think she would go that far but maybe it was just with me I don't know CM
00:23:28Steve said this kind of activity had continued even after Josh and Susan left Washington though far less frequently as an example he told the agents that while Josh and Susan were visiting Washington in two thousand and eight he brushed up against her bare breast while she was feeding
00:23:46Braden so Josh was aware of some of these Catamounts games that she was well aware of after that because it was you know so so I mean Gerry yes Susan is very subtle you know not just like that whole thing pressing her breasts against my hands yeah you
00:24:05know she didn't have to do that she wanted to do it you know and saying she wanted to do it wow Susan had described Steve using words like wicked she told her parents he was a peta file if there was one person in the world she did not
00:24:25want to touch her it was Steve Powell she blamed that attitude on her religion which he claimed she only practiced to please her parents Susan's own writings and actions contradict this not only did she regularly attend her church services she also took on volunteer church assignments and fought
00:24:50against Josh to pay ten percent of her income in typing Susan's faith was a core pillar of her identity not something she practiced out of grudging obligation Steve's claims grew even more egregious he told the agents that hot tempered Susan had been abusing her two young sons Hey
00:25:14I I've I've been very open with you about seasons of the year so I mean you have your questionnaire openness we admission wrote as yeah yeah then then for Josh who just absolutely adores his sons it could be a motive but I don't believe it for a minute
00:25:31the the the anything happen like that after that for you none of the people who knew Susan well who I've spoken to for this podcast ever shared a similar concern none of her friends co workers or relatives ever saw Susan strike Charlie or Braden I specifically asked Josh's
00:25:53sister Jennifer about this claim of abuse did you ever see anything like that Susan was so loving to her children she was not abusive to them in any way I never witnessed or heard through the grapevine from anyone that there was anything like that going on on her
00:26:19side on the other hand there were issues that Josh was doing that I was highly concerned about he was regularly undermining her authority as a mother and that was really hard on her and on her relationship with their children and and on her ability to be a good
00:26:39parent now Susan was not a Saint she did have flocks for example she can be heard snapping at Charlie in this two thousand a video she made documenting the family's property in preparation for a possible divorce quiet Charlie US cut the wire mesh be quiet to rumors thank
00:27:05you but this is the kind of thing many an exasperated young mother might say to a misbehaving child Steve wanted to twist that into something much more sinister the agents asked if he ever actually witnessed Susan commit an act of abuse he conceded that he had not but
00:27:28said he had over heard things on the phone Josh he said was very protective of the boys any these are his boys Josh don't sign then he he would guard that with his wife finally after more than an hour and a half the conversation turned to the topic
00:27:47of Stephen Kochhar Steve Powell with pen and paper in hand started scratching out a rough map of Utah Arizona and Nevada and this is kosher up here right he marked the city's important to his theory okay here's Salt Lake City shares West Valley city okay here's the highway
00:28:10that goes over to %HESITATION one number one tennis %HESITATION which went over Nevada at chef and went about trying to explain how he believes Steven cultures and Susan's lives might have intersected they each had one point had worked in downtown Salt Lake City in offices separated by a
00:28:31few city blocks perhaps he suggested they had somehow met and developed a secret romance but I surmised she disappears on the morning the seventh call Sam and says I'm ready we're ready to take undertake the plan he comes up on the night of the seventh spends the night
00:28:50at my life in my documents or my %HESITATION %HESITATION timeline I referred to it as safe house there's somebody in in West Valley city that knows what was going on as far as I'm concerned he stands they spend the night at that person's house because that's where she
00:29:07would have gone after she can get a quote unquote disappear from there Steve's theory had Kochhar slipping down to the Las Vegas area with Susan where he staged his own disappearance before renting a boat possibly with the help of a friend in order to float south toward the
00:29:27US Mexico border you can take this as is this coming from a crazy person or whatever you want to say it but I would I would put money on the possibility that they're not even in this country I would you know why you know I see I see
00:29:41heading south at about this far as they can go finding other trick ground transportation or whatever in Mexico City picking up a flight or maybe going across to the control of the coast of Mexico and picking up a ship you know and then heading down to four delays
00:29:58of where I would know people you know I mean I went on a mission Argentina I I don't mean so many years ago I don't know anybody now but back then if I called somebody and certain people and so you're not coming down there with my fiance really
00:30:13get married yeah they say wow computer it was Stan our place you know what possible reason could Susan have for going along with such an outlandish plot Steve said she had once mentioned wanting to learn Portuguese the primary language spoken in Brazil what's more he said she was
00:30:35overwhelmed by the boys and motivated by a desire to get pregnant again attracted to culture there were many many problems with this idea the time lines didn't quite mesh Steve's theory required Susan and culture to share a common acquaintance someone who could sneak Susan away unseen and hide
00:30:59her for at least a day Steve couldn't point to a single friend they shared in order to cross international boundaries Susan would have needed a passport she didn't have one he figured she must have had a forgery made also believe her background in cosmetology would've allowed her to
00:31:19change her appearance and assume a false identity once on the run it was a story more at home in a B. grade spy movie than an actual criminal investigation yet if Steve's theory didn't stand on its merits it did seem capable of at least sewing a small seed
00:31:39of doubt and perhaps that was the point all along in his personal journal Steve Powell later wrote of Josh if he were brought to trial the coach your connection would be more than enough evidence to convince a jury that there is reasonable doubt as to his guilt the
00:31:56story line Steve was spending for the F. B. I. and anyone else who would listen including his own children was that Susan had tried to frame Josh seriously here in this scenario for Susan disappearing and Josh being blamed was perfect who is perfect maybe a little too perfect
00:32:21man but anyway it was perfect Josh takes off on one of his late night camp outs I mean the candle was probably planned for noon that day noon on Sunday okay then they may not have been either so yeah I I'm not trying to Josh's all this stuff
00:32:38because Josh's attorney has said you know don't speculate about anything don't talk about what happened even your family that day just you know you and I know what happened the police know what happened just drop it you know it doesn't it doesn't do anything for you so West
00:32:56Valley police did take the culture lead and investigate it I will have more to say about that in a future episode but for the two FBI agents who were listening to Steve on February twenty fourth of two thousand and ten his theory proved far from convincing special agent
00:33:15Johnson decided to level with Steve he explained he wasn't on anyone's side not the Powell family side not the **** family side not the West Valley polices side but he knew things that had not yet made the news from what I know okay %HESITATION and some of the
00:33:38things that has have happened around this disappearances specifically some of the things that Josh %HESITATION has done and said okay %HESITATION I think and %HESITATION and I think you're gonna probably have to say %HESITATION some point wrap your mind around this it sounds like you started right where
00:34:00I'm gonna be and then you went away from that based on Josh's behavior but I think you're gonna have to wrap your mind around the fact I think Josh is going to be arrested and charged with this crime okay with what product with the with the with the
00:34:17homicide okay so yeah she's yeah I do okay and like I said %HESITATION this is %HESITATION me coming with us from somewhere else and %HESITATION and not having an interest and I think that is what's going to happen when that happens %HESITATION I I don't think Josh is
00:34:39told you a even all the things that happened I think he knows a lot of this stuff that I know I don't think you stole the %HESITATION you may want to %HESITATION find some of that out for yourself so you can prepare yourself if this happens the way
00:34:55I say okay and if it happens that way and I I really think it will you'll %HESITATION you need to be aware of that you know that that's coming and %HESITATION and get you for that okay that's I'm not saying I am have the inside track and and
00:35:17and %HESITATION and I know exactly what West Valley the DA's office is going to do I'm saying this is this is me guessing right now okay and I think that's gonna happen %HESITATION I think that %HESITATION the things that I know are highly suspicious %HESITATION and it's not
00:35:36%HESITATION and I don't think that other things that I know indicate that %HESITATION season one anywhere voluntarily okay so my suggestion to you is start thinking about that and okay and and make sure you are not %HESITATION involved and I'm not accusing you of anything right now okay
00:36:03and I'm just saying make sure you never get involved with the covering up or the obstruction of of the investigation and you know he you're here you're not doing that obviously you're here talking to us you want to help but when things go the other way don't be
00:36:22involved in any that don't put yourself in any jeopardy if he when he gets arrested %HESITATION for this those grand kids are gonna need people that they know a lot around them the F. B. I. told Steve Powell two and a half months into the investigation that his
00:37:01son was likely to be arrested for Susan's murder what's more the agents explicitly warned him he could himself wind up in trouble if he attempted to help Josh conceal evidence Steve did not buy it well it is ours our use of telling me that you've got some information
00:37:23that says that everything that I just said is who we the the the Stephen kosher could not possibly have anything to do I don't know anything about steam culture really I can't I can't comment on that the urge to Steve to apply pressure to get Josh to work
00:37:41with the police make sure that %HESITATION you know if you if you really believe that that that %HESITATION that your initial feelings were wrong and then Josh truly isn't involved that totally believe that then you need to get him here and that means his cooperation in this matter
00:38:01list of turning can be there that's fine there's so many unanswered questions such what appears to be highly suspicious behavior from Josh okay and %HESITATION what have been the police seem I can't answer that I don't know that's what I mean first Steve wondered how much of the
00:38:20information in the hands of police had come from his estranged daughter Jennifer the daughter who a month prior had visited the Powell family home and confronted Josh while secretly wearing a wire any of this information is coming from my daughter Jenny please please please be aware this is
00:38:40filled with his not okay well because she had made some comments in Alton VA that always saw Josh doing this and yeah and there may be some information that comes from her I don't know I don't know anything about that years I just have I just have some
00:38:55some facts and some and some evidence that I have been made aware of and I wasn't there to collected or anything I've been made aware of and and it does not it does not look good okay for Josh so that's that's what I'm saying okay let me step
00:39:12in here for a moment and provide some perspective I have obviously interviewed Jennifer I've read her book a light in dark places it's a portrait of pain loss hope and faith not hate I asked Jennifer about what her father told the FBI here is what she said let
00:39:40me tell you about my dad I grew up with my dad I know how it works my dad was very deceitful person but at the same time he was a very smooth talker and he could convince anybody for the longest time that he was this wonderful person and
00:40:08he could smooth over any lie for ever so %HESITATION does Jennifer think the F. B. I. agents were buying the Stephen Kochhar conspiracy theory I am sure that he went in there and talked read least smoothly to them but as time went on the allies started to unravel
00:40:30and this is where this is where finally my dad's true face my dad's true nature was revealed let's go back to the interview I'm a I'm a father I have kids if you knew Josh did something or he told you something would you come forward and tell us
00:40:50that it sure would cannot but the reason being honest things I I'm not sure but but there's a sense I am you know unless you've got something pretty Freddie pretty tight I I'm I'm a hundred percent convinced I mean you know the I I I really like to
00:41:07see the evidence that I understand you can't show it to me I might be able to you know what if I get into this if I get into this and and I and I I need your help I might be able to come to you and say look
00:41:19there's a couple things that that that we know that chance does that change what you think and if you say no I don't you know then they were still there but if you say oh wow I didn't know that them now and then you know maybe you know
00:41:35we could you know keep that dialing going you don't he also worried about what would happen to Charlie and breed if if he's if something happened to Susan I don't want something to happen to their father that would probably be like biggest concern can actually entered my head
00:41:53to when I was thinking about that that you know if if my son told me that I didn't I didn't plan this something snapped it it happens %HESITATION I I don't I don't even know who I was at that moment you know gives you when you first walked
00:42:11in here you said well capable and I think you're right skiers from there the conversation took on a chilling and in retrospect prophetic tone agent Johnson proposed a hypothetical situation in which Josh had killed Susan covered up the murder and then fled with the boys if if Josh
00:42:38did that something's broken yeah there %HESITATION yeah what if what if one of the kids start saying something saying something like you know like %HESITATION coming out with the information that they needed to come out with before what's Josh gonna do well he loves his kids you know
00:42:59you might think he never do anything to his kids but if something's broken maybe he was I'm not sure I understand where you're getting out because you feel his wife all because he's got something inside of him Phyllis kids you might you know you do we know that
00:43:18I know you're saying all he'd never do that but I don't think so but not I don't would you said that about the wife you know I mean and I wouldn't set you know what wrestling to let me put it to you bluntly over the last couple of
00:43:32years I have that has occurred to me that Susan killed Josh but it never dawned on me that would be the other way around that would never even crossed my mind until December seventh until December so then I started thinking done this at this point I don't believe
00:43:52for at all that he did it but it did occur to me that Susan was was capable of doing something like that seriously that mention of Josh killing the boys did it sent a shiver up her spine and then steep suggesting against all available evidence that Susan might
00:44:21have wanted to kill Josh he told the FBI agents who he had earlier asked if they were Mormons to consider that the church might be trying to silence Susan the way he sought Susan's parents Chuck and Judy **** had rallied their fellow latter day saints in an effort
00:44:43to steal Charlie and Braden away from Josh there are some huge religious undercurrents in this thing that whole Dr Phil show was about we want to get custody of those boys from Josh the grandparents want to they don't want them in my home because I am an ex
00:45:01Mormon and I am a rather anti Mormon Rannells well I I I have nothing good to say about that religion nothing good can I read about it constantly I am you know they don't want those kids in my home and they will do anything at why she still
00:45:23to get those boys away from my home keep that in mind as you look into this I am I am Satan incarnate as far as they're concerned okay keep that in mind will not have season %HESITATION that yeah this is really a scary thing even the church itself
00:45:41I am glad to be talking to somebody in Tacoma Washington somebody who's not a Mormon somebody who's not in Salt Lake City simply because the church itself what obfuscate an investigation if they thought it would throw some damaging wind on the church they would do that I mean
00:45:59believe me they would do that so if only one sure successful with the with anything federal the doctor having heard out the F. B. I.'s hypothetical Steve then posed one of his own we don't have any video tapes of citizens disappearance quote unquote what we know is that
00:46:20she's gone right she went somewhere source somebody took her somewhere you know we don't know and you're so you're seeing these seem to be of the opinion based on whatever evidence you have that maybe Josh has something to do with that disappear it's my opinion that I'm only
00:46:35I'm open okay if if she did walk away and she did it to frame Josh and she's you know just what the result started your life you know because your boyfriend knows Portuguese and let's just go down there were together and this guy really felt so you look
00:46:54at this picture you fits the profile the type of person should be attracted duties looks cut not like doesn't look like Josh but he has the sandy blonde hair blue eyes all this you know what I'm saying %HESITATION so let's suppose we do find out that she has
00:47:09basically done this and now Josh has been framed let's suppose Josh's arrested because of this whatever has she broke a law it should be extradited sort of result for you know to to face the music or yeah yeah I don't know what the I don't know the case
00:47:32on it so yeah happens occasionally where somebody disappears and calls yeah Steve quickly latched on to this idea of fraud adding it to his coach a conspiracy theory he decided Susan must've been bankrolling her new life abroad by siphoning money away from customer accounts she could have accessed
00:47:53through her work at Wells Fargo investments that was baloney there was no evidence to back up such a claim Susan was not a white collar criminal just as she wasn't abusing her children or plotting her husband's death to use a young Josh's own words Steve perceived these things
00:48:14to be true because he wanted them to be true when west LA detectives had talked to Steven December they'd finished by doing a quick search of his house the special agents did something similar they asked Steve for permission to review records for both his home and cell phone
00:48:33numbers something like yeah so look at a later %HESITATION you know I mean Josh down those two days user prepaid cell phone I mean you know if you think there's some chance of the maybe have that out of god only knows I mean you know it was communicated
00:48:50with somebody else or was doing something good answers to sister could just help yourselves yeah let's make sure I mean you know I I you know I told you I would probably not see anything but you know because I knew that Josh confessed to me which what's the
00:49:03likelihood you know what I'm saying what's the likelihood that Josh is going to come all the way %HESITATION want to get this off my chest %HESITATION United by sort of the whole up on you know whatever yeah I I mean it just isn't that was slightly good but
00:49:18but as they reached the end of their hours long conversation the agents again stressed to Steve the need for Josh to start talking I would just I idea if you guys if you guys really want to have your day with Josh you really do shore get is a
00:49:35get a hold of his attorney Tellem's out the state can we get a Downer there that they have done pay for a plane ticket be ready to set up for the plane tickets were because Josh doesn't have any money and he's not that he's not going to pay
00:49:48is a tricky to come up here and talk to you guys he he they had ample opportunity down there if you guys are late in the investigation that's not Josh's problem you know don't make him pay for something because they didn't think we'd like to do all the
00:50:04work we pay for planting okay yeah yeah talk to his attorney just tell that just none of that ever happened it was an empty promise and Steve if you knew anything wasn't going to cooperate either West Valley police would have to resort to other means figure crept forward
00:50:38through the stillness of the early morning shielded by dark it was quiet after three AM on may fifth of two thousand and ten police were inside the community of silver creek too many vans sat in the driveway of a home at the corner of one eighty six and
00:50:58ninety fourth Avenue court east the shadowy figures linked up to one and then the other slipping a small device onto each vehicle they were GPS beacons court approved tracking devices with transmitters that would allow the police to remotely follow the mini vans no matter where they went one
00:51:20for Josh's mini van one for Steve's it wasn't the first time police had put a tracker on Josh's mini van they kept hoping he might unwittingly lead them to Susan but the Powells filled the eyes of police on them in his email to police in mid January of
00:51:41two thousand and ten Steve Powell had questioned if the cops were keeping watch for suspects around the center circle house Josh and Michael tell me there are some cameras watching the powerhouse mounted on the light poles they didn't know if it was your agency the FBI or the
00:51:57media doing this by Steve should have been more worried about his own house the GPS trackers on the two vans as well as on a third mini van Steve used for work art of a major operation get involved round the clock eyes on surveillance of Josh and Steve
00:52:15Powell during early may two thousand and ten a large group of West Valley detectives and command staff made the fifteen hour trip up from Utah to take part comically some of them ended up heading right back on the afternoon of may fifth Josh drove to his storage unit
00:52:33and retrieved some stuff at about seven PM he started the long drive south and east toward Utah the West Valley team had to split up some state in two hours to watch Steve while the others tailed Josh it was a grueling task Josh drove until three thirty AM
00:52:56finally exiting I eighty four at Glen's ferry Idaho he parked his van near the city pool in slept in the car for about five hours Josh was back on the road a bit before nine AM on the morning of the six he made a pit stop at the
00:53:14nearby bliss rest area then continued on to treatment in Utah where he stopped for gas Josh arrived in the Salt Lake valley early in the afternoon he passed by Susan's old work place then went to aspen the company from which had been fired in December aspens HR manager
00:53:33was startled and a bit uncomfortable to see him since she was alone Josh explained he was just there to return some IT books she told him that wasn't necessary he could have just kept them as Josh made his way out of the building she told him not to
00:53:50come around again without first getting permission next Josh drove to the house on Serra circle you just showed up here and that is not Jackson man to use mine had rented the house from Josh after he moved out in January knows it because like yours going on in
00:54:07the investigation so is including kind of give you a come into the house there's like rules into like a tense now begin to show up I cannot you would like us are in nothing and you got it grab stuff the stuff he grabbed was leftovers that he hadn't
00:54:25loaded up back in January as part of their deal Josh and asked dax to finish the house's basement he walked through that afternoon showing the goos Mons where he wanted walls framed and where the door should go Josh's relationship with the goos Mons had never been great they've
00:54:44been friendly as neighbors mostly because of Susan shortly after they moved into the Serra circle house Josh told dachshund Mindy kill to have his wife back I was the one and only time that he made any kind of comment that had anything to do with his wife's disappearance
00:55:03red nose business now what's happening in the yeah where the progress is what you want stairs where you want it you know just as I was it was never at about seven thirty PM Josh left the house to grab some Chinese take out the detectives who were tailing
00:55:18him could see the passenger compartment of his van was packed full of household items a pair of plastic fifty gallon totes were also strapped to the outside of the van they were the last of Josh's Utah possessions he left the house again around eleven PM headed for the
00:55:37freeway he stopped once along the way to make sure the load was lashed tight then started back toward Washington he had been in Utah for less than twelve hours Josh drove into southern Idaho at about two thirty AM he left the freeway a bit east of Twin Falls
00:55:57and north of the Snake River he parked and went to sleep the team of detectives tailing Josh had traded off shifts while he was in Utah they had fresh eyes and kept a constant watch as he slept the van did not move for a full eight hours at
00:56:19ten thirty that morning may seventh he resumed the drive to Washington Josh went well below the speed apparently concerned going too fast my because the stuff strapped to the outside of his minivan to break loose that meant that an already long drive was taking even longer back in
00:56:39Washington the rest of the West Valley surveillance team was keeping an eye on Steve he hadn't done all that much while Josh was gone just going to work in the gym the other power kids who were living in the house didn't even set foot outside that afternoon the
00:56:56team in Washington since some detectives to relieve the group that was tailing Josh unfortunately a major traffic jam had cars backed up for more than nine miles the two groups of cops missed each other Josh finally made it back to his dad's house just before midnight more than
00:57:13twenty four hours after leaving West Valley city the next afternoon he went to his storage unit and unloaded the van his dad made a stop at a local landfill on may ninth they returned to the landfill together then went to a thrift store and donated some items Josh
00:57:34was ditching Susan's stuff on the morning of Monday may tenth Steve left home and caught a bus headed for Tacoma he was on his way to pick up his work van after the weekend while on the bus he took out a pen and started to write in the
00:57:51spiral bound notebook he used as a journal I wonder if Susan is missing me I have these images of Susan in mind sunbathing and strolling on nude beaches in Brazil letting everyone and anyone see what I've longed to see I've also fantasized about being added new resort with
00:58:09her myself if Steve knew he was being watched he didn't let on yesterday was mother's day and I bought some plants with flowers for the boys to plant in Susan's honor the flowers were purple which is the color for parents of chosen as her favorite I don't know
00:58:24if that's true but I went with it on Tuesday may eleventh the West Valley team went and knocked on the door of Steve's house they were flanked by US marshal Daryl Spencer and FBI special agent Gary France Steve answered and allow them to come inside he again provided
00:58:43consent for them to look around special agent France found a locked file cabinet in Steve's bedroom inside were photos of Susan including some voyeuristic shop in which she was dressed only in her underwear there were other more disturbing pictures including pornographic images of women with their faces removed
00:59:07and replaced by Susan's France found pictures of Steve exposing himself in performing lewd acts while looking at pictures of Susan France also fanned women's underwear temple garments considered sacred by latter day saints which Steve had stolen from Susan's laundry basket France confronted Steve about the pictures and asked
00:59:31where he got them Steve said he'd taken some of them the others he copied off of Josh's computer without Josh's knowledge Josh was at the house to in fact he was sitting at his computer when the police entered he quickly shut it down when the police rebooted it
00:59:50they discovered its contents were encrypted the F. B. I. had placed a tracker of its own on Josh's minivan legally they were required to tell him about it now that they were taking it off so they did so if you've been tracking me then you know that I
01:00:07just went to Salt Lake City Josh said I wasn't trying to hide anything I made sure that I left my phone on I used my cell phone and my credit cards that remark got their attention during his December camping trip Josh had kept his phone off and not
01:00:26used his credit cards he obviously understood they could be used to track his movements one of the detectives told Josh they wanted to take a peek inside his storage unit and see what he brought back from Utah the investigators drove to the storage unit Josh opened up and
01:00:46move some stuff around so they could get a better look the only noteworthy thing was a split geode along single strand of hair clung to it the G. owed and hair were probably from the camping trip Josh and Susan had taken with the boys to the Dugway geode
01:01:05beds in may of two thousand and nine a year earlier police took them as evidence just in case Steve wrote about his interactions with the investigators on that day in his journal I had a sense that they had found her even though they refused to acknowledge that they
01:01:22wanted to check out our computers to find out if we had any contact with Susan since December seventh I think it was apparent to them that the answer to that question was negative Steve understood as well as the police did just what Josh's final move out of the
01:01:37West Valley city home meant Josh never expected or intended to be with Susan again Ellis Maxwell knew Steve had not given up hope in his mind schuessel live N. I'm sure at some point you probably thought she's hiding from Josh for a minute and then she's going to
01:01:58come back and be with Steve I mean this guys %HESITATION so left of center it's it's crazy I so each time here is what Steve wrote in his journal on may seventeenth of two thousand and ten even if she's not into some deep doo doo she really no
01:02:28longer has a home Josh's rented out their house he really doesn't want to back and doesn't particularly want her to be around the boys I would take her into my home and bedroom in a minute but I would have to deal with some very strong objections from my
01:02:42kids I'm sure none of them would be thrilled to have her shack up with me and become by default the queen of the house on the next episode of cold I just said you know why don't you be a bigger man and not give those journals out to
01:03:04anyone does our childhood journals legal you don't know what I went through you don't know if you haven't already please subscribe to cold tosses a rating or a review you can find cold on Facebook Instagram and Twitter at the cold podcasts for video clips pictures from the case
01:03:24and more hit up the cold podcast dot com also if Susan story sounds familiar in your own life in other words if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse in any form please get immediate help in the U. S. support is a phone call away at
01:03:45the national domestic violence hotline at one eight hundred seven nine nine seven two three three or online at W. W. W. dot the hotline dot org a quick thank you to the team Kristyn Sorensen Eric open shock can fall Danielle Prager care affair monde Becky Bruce Josh Tilton
01:04:05Adam Mason Gillian Friedman and especially Cheryl Worsley Zick for cold was composed by Michael Bonn Miller except for the guitar stuff that was me gold is a KSL podcast thank you for listening

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