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Susan Cox Powell’s family nervous about prison release

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Posted at 10:14 PM, Oct 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-12 00:14:19-04

PUYALLUP, Washington -- The announcement of a release date for Steven Powell, the father-in-law of missing West Valley City mom Susan Cox Powell, is not sitting well with members of her family.

"It's a little earlier than we were hoping," said Jennifer Graves, Steven Powell's daughter and a confidante of Susan.

Graves hasn't spoken to her father since she confronted him and her brother, Josh Powell, about Susan's disappearance several years ago. In an interview with FOX 13, Graves said his release is "disappointing."

"It was not anything unexpected that he was going to be released," she said. "We knew eventually."

Powell has served a 30-month sentence for voyeurism. West Valley City police, investigating the 2009 disappearance of Susan Cox Powell, came upon thousands of images that Powell allegedly took of women and girls without their knowledge. Among the victims: Susan Cox Powell, whom Steven had admitted an obsession with.

Susan's husband, Josh Powell, is the prime suspect in her disappearance. He killed himself and the couple's children in February 2012.

Speaking to Q13 FOX in Seattle, Susan Cox Powell's sister expressed worry for her family.

"He's been to my house before and he knows where I live," she said. "I just worry what his frame of mind is, and if he's out for revenge. He has never liked our family."

When he is released from prison, Powell will spend time in a halfway house in Tacoma. Washington corrections officials said he would wear a GPS monitoring device and be under supervision until May 2016.

One of Powell's new neighbors was not planning a warm welcome for him. Clarissa Stafford said in an interview with Q13 FOX that she was worried for her children.

"He doesn't seem like a very neighborly kind of guy. He doesn't seem like somebody I would want living next door to any of the families that live on my block," she said.

Denise Cox Olsen said it was her hope that with Powell's release, he might be willing to provide some information on her sister's disappearance. In recently declaring their case "inactive," West Valley City police have said they believe Josh Powell and his brother, Michael, were involved in Susan's disappearance and likely death.

West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo said investigators were not likely to question Steven Powell about what -- if anything -- he might know of Susan's disappearance.

"He's made it clear through his attorney that he's not going to talk to us," Russo told FOX 13 on Friday.

Russo said that while the case remains inactive and leads have been exhausted, police continue to receive occasional tips from time to time.

"We do get tidbits that, unfortunately, lead us nowhere," he said. "If we get a tangible lead, we'll pursue it."