Court documents related to the disappearance of Susan Powell show police had "everything but a body" to build a case against Powell's husband, leaving the woman's father to question why Josh Powell was still free last month, when he killed himself and his two sons.
"When I heard them [the new evidence], it was like, well, why didn't you arrest him already?" said Chuck Cox, Susan Powell's father. "Had he been to jail, my grandchildren would still be alive."
Josh Powell, who had been the primary person of interest in the case almost from the time his wife went missing in December 2009, set off an explosion in his Graham, Wash., rental home last month, moments after a Child Protective Services worker had dropped off his sons, Braden, 5, and Charles, 7, for a supervised visit.
The explosion, seconds after Powell pulled the boys inside the house and locked out the social worker, killed him and his boys.
Powell had moved back to Washington from Utah after his wife's disappearance, initially to live with his father, Steven Powell. He moved out of his father's house after the older man was charged with voyeurism and child pornography.
The newly released documents show that investigators had a lot of evidence linking Josh Powell to his wife's disappearance, according to a Washington State prosecutor who handled the charges against Steven Powell.
"There is direct evidence. There is circumstantial evidence. There is motive," Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist told ABC News Seattle affiliate KOMO-TV. "There is everything but the body."
He said that had the Susan Powell case happened in his jurisdiction, he would have charged her husband with murder.
"The West Valley [Utah police] had a lot more evidence than we were ever led to believe," said Greg Skordas, Josh Powell's defense attorney and a former prosecutor in Salt Lake City, Utah. "We had a lot of statements, for example, from Josh that were clearly lies."
According to the documents, the last time Susan Powell was seen alive, a friend had been at her house, and told police that Susan suddenly "became tired after eating a meal that was prepared by her husband."
Susan then went to bed, and was never seen again.
The documents reveal that Susan's blood had been found on what had appeared to be a spot on the floor next to a sofa where Josh Powell had set up two fans.
Detectives also found a letter Susan had left in a secret safety deposit box in which she said her husband had "threatened to destroy her if they get divorced" and that if she were to die, "it may not be accident, even if it looks like one," KOMO-TV and The Associated Press reported.
After Susan Powell disappeared, her husband emptied her IRA accounts, KOMO reported.
The new documents say that Josh once bragged to a friend about "how to kill someone, dispose of a body and not get caught."
The documents opened Friday pertained to a case against Steven Powell, who last September was arrested and charged with using a telephoto lens to take photos of two young girls in the bathroom of a neighboring house. There reportedly were thousands of photos, and Powell was charged with 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of child pornography.
Jurisdiction for the case against Steven Powell falls within Pierce County.
According to the new documents, Steve Powell had taken photos of Susan Powell in secret, some in which she was fully clothed, others in which she wore only her underwear, one in which her legs were "slightly open, exposing her underwear."
His apparent attraction to his daughter-in-law has been raised before. In a 2011 interview with "Good Morning America," he said he had a flirtatious relationship with her that went "a little beyond the pale."
He described the relationship as "father-in-law-daughter-in-law flirting with each other, maybe some sexual touching or whatever."
"There's no question in my mind that the feelings were mutual," he said.
Cox, Susan Powell's father, said that he had wanted to protect his grandchildren, but now that they're gone, he just wants to find his daughter.
"We let the police do their investigation and hope that sometime we'll be able to talk to Steve Powell and he'll be able to tell her where she is if he knows."
Josh Powell has long been a suspect in his wife's disappearance, beginning with the police's initial search of the West Valley City, Utah, home the two shared with their boys. There, investigators found two fans drying a wet area on the rug where a red stain had been removed.
Josh Powell said that his wife had been cleaning the rug before she disappeared. He also told authorities that he had decided take an impromptu midnight camping trip with the boys in the midst of a blizzard, the night his wife vanished. Powell said he returned home to find his wife gone.
Later, he would blame his wife's mental state -- "extremely unstable" -- for her disappearance, while his father maintained she had skipped town with a man who disappeared from a Christmas party the night she vanished.
- Susan Powell
- Josh Powell
- Steve Powell