The Susan Powell timeline
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published May 20 2013 02:40PM
Noon, Dec. 6, 2009 • Susan Powell, 28, and her two sons attend church services at the Hunter 36th Ward, then walk home with friend Kiirsi Hellewell.
Afternoon, Dec. 6 • Neighbor JoVonna Owings drops by the Powells’ home on Sunday afternoon to visit with Susan. The family had pancakes and eggs for dinner. Susan, who was feeling tired, lies down for a nap about 5 p.m. Owings leaves, as does Josh Powell, who said he was taking his two sons sledding.
8:30 p.m., Dec. 6 • A neighbor sees Josh Powell as he returns home and pulls into his garage.
Midnight to 12:30 a.m, Dec. 7 • Josh Powell says he left home with his two sons, then ages 2 and 4, to go camping at the Simpson Springs Campground, about 25 miles west of Vernon in the remote west desert of Tooele County while Susan went to sleep.
9 a.m. to 10 a.m., Dec. 7 • The Powells’ day-care provider becomes alarmed when the couple failed to drop off their sons on schedule and she could not reach either parent by cellphone or at their home. She contacts Josh Powell’s mother and sister, who call police after they could not locate the pair. Police break into the Powells’ home and find no one but notice two fans blowing on a wet spot on carpet in the home.
Evening, Dec. 7 • Josh Powell and his two young sons return home between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. He is taken to the West Valley police station to be questioned.
11 a.m., Dec. 8 • Susan’s father, Chuck Cox, receives a telephone call from Josh Powell, who informs him Susan was missing and that he was about to be interviewed by police again.
Dec. 9 • Police serve a search warrant on the Powell residence and remove boxes, bags and a computer.
Dec. 10 • Law officers search the Simpson Springs area but find nothing.
Dec. 12 • Josh Powell, Chuck Cox and other family members gather outside the LDS Church’s Hunter Central Stake Center to pray, sing hymns and start a 24-hour fast in hopes of her safe return. A tearful Josh Powell does not speak, but Chuck Cox says he’s concerned about the focus on his son-in-law. That evening, Josh Powell joins an effort to hand out missing person fliers to Jazz fans attending a game.
Dec. 14 • Josh Powell hires defense attorney Scott C. Williams and skips a third interview with West Valley City police.
Dec. 15 • Josh Powell provides a DNA sample to police.
Dec. 17 • West Valley City police subpoena Salt Lake City television stations for footage of interviews with Josh Powell taken days after his wife’s disappearance.
Dec. 18 • Josh Powell and his sons travel to Puyallup, Wash., to stay in the home of his father, Steven Powell, for the holidays.
Dec. 20 • Friends and family of Susan Powell hold vigils in Utah and Puyallup, Wash., to keep attention focused on finding her.
Jan. 4, 2010 • Family and friends of Susan launch a social media campaign to spread word of the woman’s disappearance on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Jan. 6 • Josh Powell and his brother, Michael, arrive at the Powells’ West Valley City home to pack the family’s belongings. Friends say Josh Powell, who has been fired from his job, may be unable to keep the home and is moving back to Puyallup.
Jan. 27 • Neighbors decorate the Powell home in West Valley City with dozens of purple ribbons, hearts and signs to bring renewed attention to Susan’s case.
Jan. 28 • Josh Powell returns to West Valley City to make home repairs to his property to rent it.
Jan. 29 • West Valley City police serve a search warrant on Josh Powell and seize the blue minivan he drove the night his wife disappeared to examine it.
Feb. 15 • The Cox family holds a news conference in Puyallup, Wash. Family members allege Susan had a physical altercation with her husband and detail the couple’s problems, citing controlling behavior by Josh Powell. They say Susan had suggested to family and friends she would end the relationship by their April 6 anniversary if the relationship didn’t improve. The family also announces a nonprofit organization in Susan’s name aimed at helping families of missing persons.
Feb. 25 • Neighbors of Steven Powell cover their Washington neighborhood with missing person posters and ribbons. The Coxes say it upsets the Powell children.
April 10 • Volunteers search for Susan in the Simpson Springs area but turn up nothing.
Aug. 25 • West Valley City police say detectives have spent at least 6,850 man hours to date searching for Susan, at a cost of more than $150,000. Five of the department’s 28 detectives are assigned full-time to investigating her disappearance.
Sept. 10 • Chuck Cox and Ed Smart appear in Utah as part of an effort to raise awareness for kidnapped children and promote legislation that would require that DNA samples be taken from people arrested on suspicion of a felony.
Dec. 6 • Josh Powell and his father, Steve, assert that Susan Powell ran away with missing Utah man Steven Koecher, who disappeared in Nevada in December 2009. The Powells claim the pair ran off to Brazil, where Koecher had served an LDS mission. They say the pair may have married and started a new life.
July 15, 2011 • Steve Powell says he will post portions of Susan Powell’s childhood journals online.
Aug. 9 • A Washington judge grants Josh Powell’s request for a temporary restraining order against Chuck Cox following an altercation between the two at a Lowe’s store; the two are later given mutual anti-harassment orders, requiring them to stay 500 feet apart.
Aug. 18 • West Valley City police say there is a break in the case and that a search will be conducted in Ely, Nev. The media are invited along to watch as investigators search abandoned mine shafts in the area, but police find nothing after two days of searching.
Aug. 23 • Jennifer Graves, Josh Powell’s estranged sister, and Kiirsi Hellewell, Susan Powell’s best friend, allege Steve Powell made unwanted sexual advances toward the missing woman, which Steve Powell denies.
Aug. 25 • Officers from Utah and Washington serve a search warrant on the Powell home in Puyallup, Wash., and remove computer towers, garbage bags and boxes of items. In an ABC News interview, Steve Powell claims he shared "father-in-law, daughter-in-law flirting with each other, maybe some sexual touching or whatever. And, I enjoyed it, frankly."
Sept. 12 • Police begin a multi-day search for Susan Powell in a well-known rock hounding area in the West Desert near Delta. Two days later, cadaver dogs find what West Valley City police describe as human remains and, over several days, recover about 100 pieces of charred wood for forensic analysis, saying the wood could have been used to burn a body.
Sept. 22 • Steve Powell is arrested on allegations of voyeurism and child pornography. Prosecutors said they found thousands of images of girls and women filmed without their knowledge — including Susan Powell and two young girls who were former neighbors. The Powell children are placed in state custody while police investigate whether their father or anyone else living in the home knew about Steve Powell’s activities.
Sept. 23 • The Coxes file a third-party custody action, asking that they be given custody of their daughter’s sons. On the same day, a judge bars Susan Powell’s husband from publishing her teenage diary entries online, at least for now.
Sept. 27 • Washington’s Division of Child and Family Services files a child welfare action and temporarily places the children with Chuck and Judy Cox.
Sept. 28 • Following a two-day hearing, a Pierce County Superior Court judge rules the Powell children will remain temporarily with the Coxes, citing the pending investigation into what Josh Powell may or may not have known about his father’s activities and the fact he is a person of interest in his wife’s disappearance.
Nov. 10 • Chuck Cox files a motion in the third-party action asking a judge to, among other things, appoint a guardian ad litem so a custody investigation can begin.
Nov. 14 • A judge sets a review hearing for the missing mom’s children for Jan. 19.
January 2012 • Days before a scheduled custody hearing, the family of Josh Powell launches a website that alleges Chuck and Judy Cox either abused the two boys or allowed them to come to harm.
Jan. 31, 2012 • The website is unavailable and listed as "disabled."
Feb. 1, 2012 • A Washington judge orders that Powell’s sons, Charlie, 7 and Braden, 5, remain in the custody of their grandparents, Chuck and Judy Cox. He also orders Powell to undergo a psychosexual evaluation by a court-appointed examiner in light of explicit images found on a computer taken from the Powells’ West Valley City home during a 2009 police search.
Feb 5. 2012 • Police say Josh Powell set off an explosion at his Washington state home almost immediately after his sons arrived for a supervised visit. The blast killed him and the children.
Feb. 11, 2013 • Michael Powell, Josh Powell’s brother and his ardent defender, commits suicide by jumping off a parking structure in Minneapolis.
May -14-16, 2013 • West Valley City search for Susan Powell’s body on property near Salem, Ore., but find nothing.
May 20 • West Valley City police hold press conference on case, announce an end to the search for Susan.
Sources: The Salt Lake Tribune, West Valley City Police Department, Kiirsi Hellewell, Charles Cox, media reports