Susan Cox Powell's brother-in-law became a suspect after trying to get rid of his car, claims new documentary

Susan Cox Powell's brother-in-law became a suspect after trying to get rid of his car, claims new documentary

The disappearance of Susan Cox Powell, a mother of two, shocked the world in 2009 and continues to baffle the world today. Susan Cox vanished from her home in West Valley City in Utah in 2009 and has not been seen since. 

The Powell family have been under constant suspicion given their strange behavior after her disappearance. Her husband Josh Powell gave a very strange alibi and said that he had taken his two small sons (7-year-old Charlie and 5-year-old Braden) on a spontaneous camping trip in a blizzard and claimed he only returned to the couple's home after she had vanished. Her father-in-law, Steven 'Steve' Powell, was the most suspicious given his obsession with his daughter-in-law.

Oxygen Media released a new documentary titled 'The Disappearance of Susan Cox Powell' which looked at the baffling case and also featured never-seen-before videos. However, Steve and Josh Powell were not the only questionable Powell family members. One theory in the documentary looks at Susan's brother-in-law Michael Powell.

Who was Michael Powell?

When Susan Cox's husband Josh Powell was named a person of interest by law enforcement, it was Josh's father Steve and brother Michael who came to his defense. Two years after Susan's disappearance, Michael caught authorities' attention in 2011 when he paid to have his run-down car towed to a yard just two weeks after Susan vanished. 

Michael Powell (L) along with his father Steve Powell (C), Josh Powell, and Susan Cox Powell (Source: The West Valley City Police Department)

The authorities were able to recover the 1997 Ford Taurus from Lindell Auto in Pendleton, Oregon and took to conducting forensic testing. A police dog was able to detect the presence of human decomposition in the trunk, though the DNA tests were inconclusive. 

Josh Powell's death and Michael Powell 


After being named as a person of interest in Susan's case, her husband Josh had his two children taken away from him but was allowed supervised visits.

According to a judge, the children had to remain with Susan's parents until Josh had gone through a psychosexual evaluation. He then claimed that he was "a fit and loving father who provides a stable home even in the face of great adversity" and that it was "time for my sons to come home."

On February 5 in 2012, Josh emailed his custody attorney Jeffrey Bassett saying he was sorry before setting fire to his home, killing himself and his children.

Michael wrote an email to People where he claimed that Josh was "grief-stricken". "As someone who is close to Josh, I know he is hurting because he misses his wife, and my hope for him is that people are understanding of that," he shared with the publication. 

In 2012, he also launched a website where he slammed the West Valley City Police Department and wrote, "The WVCPD has slandered the Powell family through a bizarre effort to cover up endeavors on our part to aid in the search for Josh's wife."


Susan Cox Powell and her two sons Charlie Powell (R) and Braden Powell (L) is displayed as a choir performs during a funeral service for Charlie and Braden Powell (Source: Getty Images)

After Josh's murder-suicide, Michael went head-to-head with Susan's parents regarding Josh and his children's $1.5 million insurance policies. Around four months before Josh ended his life, he had named Michael as the primary beneficiary. 

Michael Powell and his father Steve Powell 

On his website, Michael also supported and defended his father Steve Powell who was charged with 14 counts of voyeurism and also one count of child pornography. He was also accused of videotaping women including Susan as they would change or were in the bathroom.

According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, Michael had accused the authorities of fabricating the charges so as to inflict the maximum amount of damage to the Powell family's image and reputation. Eventually, Steve Powell was found guilty on all 14 counts. 


Michael Powell's death 

Michael Powell ended up committing suicide on February 12 in 2013 while he was a student at the University of Minnesota. His untimely death led to the authorities asking several questions as to what he knew about Susan's disappearance, or if he helped his brother Josh Powell. This also led to many people wondering just how much Michael knew and whether all the pressure finally got to him. 

Michael had previously told authorities, "Even if I knew something, I wouldn't tell you," and that is exactly what happened. Whatever Michael knew about Susan and Josh was lost with his death.

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 Susan Cox Powell brother-in-law suspect car two years after disappearance missing mother of two