Susan Powell’s family contemplates lawsuit

Posted at 9:47 PM, Feb 20, 2012

The family of missing West Valley City mother Susan Cox Powell acknowledged Monday they were contemplating a lawsuit against Washington authorities over the child custody case that led to the murder-suicide involving her children.

“Right now, we need to figure out exactly where the blame lays,” Chuck Cox told FOX 13.

Cox cautioned that talk of a lawsuit is premature and there were no immediate plans for any litigation.

“There’s a lot of questions about how they could have allowed visitation, knowing what they knew about Josh,” he said.

Cox said Monday that he believed Washington state child welfare workers pushed reunification between Josh Powell and the children, despite red flags revealed in documents made public last week by Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services. (See related stories) For his part, Cox said he could not bring himself to read the documents because it would be too upsetting.

Josh Powell lost custody of his children after West Valley City police gave Washington authorities hundreds of pornographic images found on his computer in 2009, as they investigated the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell. A judge ordered Powell to undergo a polygraph and psycho-sexual evaluation. That hearing is believed to have sparked the murder-suicide that killed Charlie, Braden and Josh Powell.

Cox told FOX 13 that West Valley City police have kept him updated on their ongoing investigation into Susan’s disappearance. He said they were testing a blood-stained comforter found in a storage unit rented by Josh Powell. Police also recovered some documents he dumped at a recycling center just before killing his children.

But it may not help them solve the mystery of Susan’s disappearance. Cox told FOX 13 he believes that Josh Powell’s father, Steven, knows where Susan is. But Steven Powell, who is jailed on voyeurism and child pornography-related charges, has already told police he is not cooperating.

“They, like us, know that Josh was the person who did something, took her away or killed her or whatever he did. Did he have helpers? Where could she be? Where could he have dumped her?” Cox said of West Valley City police. “They have to decide where to go from here.”