Quantcast

Doubt cast on new witness claim in Susan Powell case

Published April 6, 2012 9:58 pm

Crime • Son-in-law says Steve Powell was home at the time of 2009 disappearance.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The son-in-law of Steve Powell said he's doubtful of the story brought forward by a new witness who claims Steve Powell was in Utah when his daughter-in-law, Susan Cox Powell, disappeared.

Kirk Graves, the brother-in-law of Susan Powell who lives in West Jordan, said Friday it seems unlikely Steve Powell could have been in Utah on the night of the Dec. 6, 2009, disappearance because Steve Powell was at his Puyallup, Wash., home the next day.

Graves said his wife, Jennifer Graves, called her sister, Alina Powell, on Dec. 7, 2009, to inform her that Susan Powell was missing and to ask if she had heard from Josh Powell. Jennifer Graves called the home Alina Powell shared with her father, Steve Powell. As Jennifer Graves spoke with her sister on Dec. 7, she could hear her father in the background, Kirk Graves said.

Kirk Graves said police have said they know where Steve Powell was on Dec. 6, 2009, but haven't disclosed that information publicly. He said he's doubtful police would have withheld Steve Powell's location if he was in Utah and was with Josh Powell the night Susan Powell disappeared.

The Washington state Department of Corrections has confirmed that Steve Powell was at work the morning of Dec. 7, 2009.

Graves' statement Friday came after an attorney for the parents of missing West Valley City woman Susan Powell clarified a claim that Steve Powell told a coworker he went camping in Utah's west desert the night of his daughter-in-law's disappearance.

Attorney Anne Bremner said Friday a female co-worker of Steve Powell's reported to police Steve Powell had said he planned to travel to Utah for a camping trip around Thanksgiving 2009 and stay a week or two. Bremner said she spoke to the co-worker in recent days and reviewed a statement she gave to Washington law enforcement officials, who were asked to pass along the information to West Valley City police.

"This trip could have been in late Nov 09 per descriptions. 'On or about time' surrounding disappearance," Bremner posted on her Twitter account Friday and told The Salt Lake Tribune in a separate email.

The co-worker recalled hearing Steve Powell talk about the camping trip with his son Josh, the only person of interest police have named in his wife's case. According to Bremner, the co-worker believes the trip Steve Powell described was the midnight camping trip Josh Powell claims he took his boys — then ages 2 and 4 — on in Utah's west desert the night his wife disappeared on Dec. 6, 2009.

The co-worker thought it was strange the family would camp at that time of year, but when Steve Powell returned from the trip, he told the co-worker the trip was "cold but fun," Bremner said.

On Thursday, Bremner posted on Twitter that "Steve Powell, according to a new witness, said he went camping with the boys and Josh Powell when Susan went missing." Bremner wrote that the witness informed police of Steve Powell's activities "long ago."

West Valley City police Sgt. Mike Powell, who is no relation to Josh or Steve Powell, said Friday the department will not be commenting on the witness account.

Chuck Cox, the father of Susan Powell, said Thursday he has always believed Steve Powell, who was sexually interested in his daughter-in-law, somehow helped Josh Powell kidnap and murder her. Josh Powell earlier this year killed his sons and committed suicide in a gasoline-fueled blaze at his Graham, Wash., area home.

Bremner's claim followed a revelation earlier this week that the 61-year-old called in sick to work a day after Susan Powell went missing. Powell was absent from his Washington Department of Corrections job on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9, 2009, his former employer has confirmed.

Those days coincide with the period that Josh Powell rented a Ford Focus from Salt Lake City International Airport, putting more than 800 miles on the vehicle before returning it around 7 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2009.

mrogers@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mrogers_trib