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Video, docs give glimpse into Susan Cox Powell’s troubled marriage

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Posted at 8:13 PM, May 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-23 02:04:38-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Police detectives investigating the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell found the video inside a safe-deposit box, alongside some of her journals and a note "for family, friends of Susan -- all except for Josh Powell, husband, I don't trust him!"

On the tape, Susan Cox Powell is seen engaged in a mundane task -- documenting all of the property inside her West Valley City home.

She walks through the house, filming pieces of personal property.

"Pearl earrings Josh's dad bought me," she said, showcasing some jewelry. "(Unintelligible) got in a rage as you can see and broke this. There's studs and pearls and opals in there. Broke this and threw all my DVDs and made a mess because he was angry at me a year or two back."

On another part of the tape, she pointed out holes in the wall that she said Josh had made, punching the wall.

"This is me. July 29, 2008," she said, wrapping up the tour and turning the camera toward her face. "Covering my bases, making sure that if something happens to me or my family or all of us that our assets are documented."

"Hope everything works out and we're all happy and live happily ever after as much as that's possible," Susan said on the tape, rolling her eyes.

The video was shot about a month after Susan wrote a chilling "Last Will & Testament," where she stated that "If I die, it may not be an accident, even if it looks like one." The will, journals and the video recording were found inside a safe-deposit box at the Wells Fargo Bank branch that she worked at on Amelia Earhart Drive.

It was made public on Monday when West Valley City police officially suspended their three-and-a-half-year investigation into Susan's disappearance, releasing more than 30,000 pages of documents, photos, and other evidence.

In her journals, Susan writes of her troubled marriage. She accused Josh of controlling her and having a temper. The couple was divided over religion. She remained dedicated to her Mormon faith, but said he was bitterly against it. In some papers, she tallied up the pros and cons of her husband and whether she should stay married to him.

"I am not threatening a divorce, but what you ask of me is too great to bear," she wrote in one undated note, presumably to her husband. "You must understand that my religion is a part of me."

In an email to a friend on Christmas Eve in 2008, Susan revealed she had already been speaking to a divorce lawyer.

"We didn't seem to be in love anymore," she wrote in that email. "My dad said that I'm a financially and emotionally abused wife. I just don't have the bruises."

But in other notes, she wrote of how much she loved Josh. In that same safe-deposit box, there was a picture and a love note from her husband. There was also hand-drawn cards from Charlie and Braden Powell.

On Oct. 26, 2009, she wrote in a journal entry: "Josh and I finally started going to marriage counseling." She underlined the word "finally" several times.

On Dec. 7, 2009, Susan vanished.

West Valley City police said they do not know exactly what happened to her. In announcing the suspension of the active investigation into her disappearance, police admitted the case against her husband, Josh, was largely circumstantial.

Josh Powell, the police's "person of interest" in her disappearance, killed himself and the couple's children, Charlie and Braden, on Feb. 5, 2012 inside his Graham, Wash., home.

In the 944 pages of supplemental police reports released to FOX 13 under a public records request, detectives revealed that a psychologist who interviewed Josh Powell two days before he killed himself made, "in his opinion, an admission of guilt in regards to having done something to his wife, Susan Powell."

The psychologist told police that in a session, Josh Powell said he felt it necessary to reconcile with Susan's parents, Chuck and Judy Cox. When the psychologist told him that the Cox family believed he killed Susan and he didn't believe reconciliation was possible, Josh "somewhat rhetorically stated, 'Reconciliation with the Cox family would not be possible."

The psychologist also told police that a voicemail Josh left for his sister right before killing himself and the children was "an additional admission of guilt." The psychologist, police wrote, "advised that the statement Joshua made was about having caused hurt to someone and was made in the past tense."

"(The psychologist) believed this was Joshua's attempt to apologize for what he had done to his wife," the police report said.