NewsLocal News


Susan Cox Powell’s father hopeful decrypting computer might yield clues

Posted at 2:40 PM, Oct 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-26 16:41:34-04

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - The father of missing mother Susan Cox Powell said he was hopeful that work on decrypting a hard drive belonging to her husband might provide new clues about her disappearance.

Susan Cox Powell (photo provided to FOX 13)

"I'm hopeful and optimistic and relieved that they're continuing to decode and decrypt the hard drives of Josh," Chuck Cox said Thursday.

FOX 13 first reported on Wednesday that a private investigator working with the Cox family on Susan's disappearance said Utah-based Decipher Forensics had managed to decrypt a level of Josh Powell's computer.

However, Rose Winquist said there was still a lot more work to do and she was working to get more resources to help crack the computer.

Winquist said she believed what is on the hard drive could be a breakthrough in the high-profile missing persons case.

Chuck Cox said he wasn't sure what -- if anything -- the computer might contain, but he hoped it would give some new clues about what his son-in-law was up to before Susan vanished in 2009.

"Probably what was going on the week, the month before Susan went missing with Josh. Who he was communicating with, what he was searching and doing," he said.

A family photo of Josh Powell and his wife, Susan Cox Powell, and their children. (Photo provided to FOX 13)

Josh Powell had encrypted his computers before West Valley City police seized them under a search warrant in the missing persons case.

In a statement Thursday, police said they had given Decipher Forensics images of other hard drives that had yielded nothing of evidentiary value.

"Decipher Forensics continues to work on this drive and as technology advances and changes, we continue to explore any new options that might become available to access the contents of this drive.  We must, however, make it perfectly clear that this drive, as with other drives we have examined in the past, may hold nothing of evidentiary value. To comment on the potential contents of this drive would be speculative on our part," the department said.

Decipher Forensics is working on decrypting the hard drive for free. Cox said he was thankful for their work.

Susan Cox Powell's father, Chuck Cox, at a search in Oregon in 2013. (FOX 13 News file image)

"I'm grateful they're willing to put the effort into it and they're willing to try and untangle this," he said. "I hope it's fruitful."

Susan disappeared from her home in December 2009. Initially declared by police a "person of interest" and, ultimately, a suspect in her disappearance, Josh Powell killed himself and the couple's children in an explosion in Washington state in 2012.

Over the years there have been searches that have turned up no new information about what happened to Susan Cox Powell or where she is. Cox urged anyone with tips about his daughter's disappearance to contact Winquist.