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Who Killed Susan Powell? Chief suspect, her husband, killed himself and their two children 3 years later

Family photo of Susan and Josh Powell
Susan and Josh Powell pictured in happier times before their marriage ended in death and mystery. Pic credit: Investigation Discovery/ YouTube

This week, Investigation Discovery attempt to make sense of the strange disappearance and assumed murder of Susan Cox Powell from West Valley City, Utah, in December 2009.

Friends and family reported Susan and her husband Josh Powell missing after efforts to contact the couple had failed, and neither of them had turned up for work.

When Josh Powell later returned home, he told police, who were at his home that he had been on a late-night camping trip with their two young sons then 4-year-old Charlie and 2-year-old Braden. Police instantly noted inconsistencies in his story, along with seeming to be unconcerned about his wife’s location.

During interviews, investigators found Josh to be evasive, disjointed and contradictory. While parts of his story of what happened on December 6 seemed to check out, there were other areas where he was lying.

They also found evidence that the couple had had a deteriorating marriage, and Josh had likely been having an affair. Susan had written in her journal that she was afraid of her husband and worried that he might kill her.

Police named Josh Powell a “person of interest”

Police remained suspicious of Powell and declared him a person of interest but didn’t have enough evidence to make an arrest. Powell then fled with the boys to a new home in Washington state.

In February 2012, Josh Powell picked up a hatchet and struck his two young sons in the head and neck. He then covered their Washington state home in gasoline before setting fire to the residence in a murder-suicide. Josh and his two boys Charles, 7, and Braden, 5, died at scene.

In 2013 officials in Utah stated that they believed Josh murdered his wife Susan and that his brother Michael Powell had helped him to dispose of the body.

Josh had left all his belongings to his brother after his death in the fire; however, in a further twist, Michael Powell then threw himself to his death from a parking garage in Minnesota.

Police have still not located Powell’s body, but they continue to search the many abandoned mines in Utah’s West Desert where they suspect Josh may have hidden the remains. Charlie and Braden, allegedly told their maternal grandparents in 2011 that their mother was in a mine.

More from Investigation Discovery

Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on ID.

Lowell Ed Amos liked to lead a flashy and expensive lifestyle; unfortunately, police believe he funded his lavish spending habits by murdering three wives, followed by his mother and pocketing their life insurance money.

In another ID Murder Mystery, the case of the West Memphis three was investigated. After three 8-year-old boys were found naked and hogtied in an Arkansas ditch, the local authorities scapegoated three teenage boys instead of looking for the real killer.

Who Killed Susan Powell? airs Saturday at 11 am on Investigation Discovery.

Jerry was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, but is now based in the UK. He specializes in true crime and entertainment news stories. When... read more
Jerry Brown

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